27/11/2013 1 Comment
Monday I blogged about the proposals we have put forward for next year’s SCC budget and how to get involved. Today I thought I write a bit more about the guiding principles the Conservative administration hold dear.
As the National Government changed and the smoke and mirror hiding the financial mess were lifted there is no doubt that Local Government has had to enter uncharted waters which are not so much ‘choppy’ more blowing a gale force 9. The Conservative controlled County Council decided that our guiding principle would not be to simply go and raid resident’s hard earned money in Council tax demands unlike the previous Lab/lib coalition, who when last in power raised the council tax by 11.9% in one year and whilst people were reeling from that shock put it up again in the next by 18.5% at the same time as receiving an increase! yes an increase! in both years in the Government settlement grant, I almost have to double check these words as I write them as it is truly unbelievable but they did just that.
But you can imagine I was not remotely surprised to see the Labour leaders’ initial response to our proposal, with his party’s usual ‘head in the sand approach’ to reshaping services, the savings that are proposed in some area, his press release states, will increase costs to the system in later years. Of course it’s just the same old mantra but what he fails to say is that rather than address the need to change, he would ?…… well we all know from their past experience they would simply go back to the dark old days of massive Council tax raids, after all they thought you’d roll over in the early 2000s so why not now!
The proposals we are putting forward are about how to protect front line services for the most vulnerable in our communities and delivering the services that people value in as cost effective way as is possible by working across partnerships and finding ways to delivery services to those who will benefit from them most. Better defining of services will support the very people Labour say will result in increased costs later on to the wider system.
At the same time we will deliver on our election promise of no increase in the County Council element of the Council Tax for next years which builds on the protection we have been able to provide for the past 3 years of no increases. Keeping this promise over the life of this Council term will mean 7 years of 0% increases which if you take inflation at 3% per annum is a real terms cuts of over 20% in Council Tax over the 7 year period, which goes someway to redressing the appalling tax hikes of the previous Lib/lab coalition that ran Suffolk.
There is lots more information on the County Council website www.suffolk.gov.uk – just click on the budget tab. Your taking part in this the Biggest Budget Conversation SCC have ever undertaken ahead of the final proposals being debated and voted on at a Full Council meeting in February 2014, is important.