Tories challenge Labour councillors to come up with alternative deficit reduction plan

Posted on Sunday 14th November 2010 at 1:11 pm by SH (Editor)

Conservative councillors on South Gloucestershire Council have challenged their Labour opponents to come up with their own plan to protect local services.

The challenge laid down to Labour councillors follows their criticism of Conservative plans to protect frontline services, whilst further reducing local spending on waste, bureaucracy and duplication in line with the Chancellor’s plans to tackle the national debt mountain wracked up by the previous Labour government.

These proposals include streamlining the council by reducing the number of managers by around a third, bringing the number of council departments from five down to three and looking at more efficient ways of providing services in the future.

Earlier this month, Labour councillors formally challenged the Conservative Cabinet’s proposals at a special ‘call-in’ meeting of the council’s Corporate Co-ordination Select Committee. Although Labour voted against the plans, the LibDems gave their in principle agreement to them.

Challenging Labour councillors to come up with a plan of their own, Conservative Cabinet Member for External Affairs and Partnerships, Cllr John Godwin, said:

“As a country, we are spending £120 million every single day just to pay off the interest on Labour’s debt. That’s the equivalent of around a quarter of South Gloucestershire Council’s entire annual budget.

Dealing with the previous government’s debt is unavoidable and the Chancellor’s Spending Review has set out how councils like South Gloucestershire need to make a contribution to restoring sanity to this country’s finances.

In adapting to an understandble fall in government funding, our pragmatic approach is to exhaust what remains of the bureaucracy, duplication and red tape in the council and ensure even better value for money for our residents.

Even though Labour councillors are yet to come up with an alternative, they say that we are rushing and that we are being premature with our plans.

But failing to get on with the work that’s needed to further reduce waste and inefficiency will almost certainly mean crude cuts to frontline services – something we are straining every sinew to avoid.

If we can deliver quality services less expensively but in a different way, why wouldn’t we?

Yet the effect of Labour’s ideological opposition has been to delay work that many local people would regard as entirely sensible in the current economic climate.

If Labour councillors don’t like our plans, then they need to come up with a plan of their own if they want to be credible with the residents of South Gloucestershire.”

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council


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