“It’s about people not money”

It’s not often that I am stunned by a comment, but recently in a meeting where I was discussing the County’s Care strategy, I was told in no uncertain terms that “it’s about people not money”.

Now maybe it was who said it or the fact that the officer team and I are constantly battling the budget pressures as we look at how to pay for an increasing number of people who need services at a time when we are having to reduce the amount of money we have to pay for things.

I don’t know about you but when something is said that you keep coming back to in your mind, I have to think it through to clear it from my mind, either dismissing it or actioning it.

So what to do? Well let’s look at the current mess this country is in, put simply the county is spending far more running the state than it takes in taxes to pay for it, not that’s not the underlying debt position for that is even worse, I hear its now over 1000 Billion pounds. So how did we get here?, was it the bail out of the banks, pure ‘quantitative easing’ or a longer term malaise of “its about people not money”, a comment full of good intentions but lacking the gravitas to deliver, well probably all of the above.

A wise old owl said to me that unless you control the budget you control nothing, if the last few months since the general election has taught us anything it is this simple truth.

In terms of Adult Social services should we simply spend more of the total budget on providing social care? perhaps we should not worry so much about the, on average, 20 people a month who run out of savings to pay for their Residential care homes and ask us to pick up the tab, that tab is currently costing you and I £6.5 millions a year more than we were expecting and perhaps we simply should use the financial reserves of the county and when they run out borrow to pay continue paying.

Well I think its fair to say we will, long term, need to look at how much of the overall budget we spend on our ageing population but in the mean time we must hold to the budget, we must make savings where we know they exist such in as in the care homes strategy and we must have a long term strategy to work across all sectors private and public to deliver the housing and care we will need to support our ageing population, which I am pleased to say we do with Suffolk Flexicare. Or we could pay for it all but simply increasing the council tax, after all that’s what the liberals and labour did in 2003/4 when they increased Council Tax by 18.5%! – That would pay for it, but of course that would then hurt the very people we are meant to be protecting namely those on fixed incomes mainly pensioners.

So tight budget control it is! I think that people are best served by an administration that looks after the money, sticks to its budgets, makes the cuts that government requires, delivers quality services and the lowest council taxes rises in the council’s history, saves money where it can, however painful that can be, is as efficient as a council can be and has a strategy to deliver additional savings by finding a new way of doing things, a new strategic direction, in short Suffolk.

So what to do about the comment “its about people not money”, maybe who said it might read my blog!

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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