Thursday, July 03, 2014

Copeland Council underspends by £1.2 million

It was announced this week that Copeland Borough Council has underspent by £1.2 million during the 2013/14 financial year.

Although that isn't a vast amount of money by the standards of a district council, it is a lot more than was saved by some of the most painful of the cuts they have made.

This is an authority that has been closing public toilets, shutting the civic hall, getting volunteers to cut verges, and generally taking an axe to public services while blaming it all on central government "cuts."

More details in the Whitehaven News here. Their leader comment included the following:

"Copeland spent £1.2 million less than it budgeted for last year; while at the same time implementing a devastating cull of services that continues to affect us all. Many will agree with Councillor Alastair Norwood amd others who find the situation a little baffling."

You never expect a council's forecasts to be dead on, and the long-term problems are not necessarily as bad with an underspend rather than an overspend. But when a Labour council which has been blaming all their measures to clobber people on treasury austerity turns out not to have spent a significant amount of the money the treasury - and the taxpayers - actually did give them, you do wonder what on earth is going on.

Couldn't have anything to do with the timing of elections, and particularly that the council comes up for re-election next year, could it?



Anonymous said...

There is a simple solution - take another £1.2 million off Copeland BC

Chris Whiteside said...

I have a great deal of sympathy for that view, though what ought to happen in a sane world would be that Copeland Council realises that it needs to take £1.2 million less from local residents in charges and taxes.

Jim said...

^ give yourself a pat on the back Chris, well done.

It seems to me Copeland council have a far greater interest in cutting the things people actually want, and taking as much as they can in taxes and things like parking charges, only so they can blame "savage government cuts" it really does seem that way to me, they would rather have the government scapegoat than actually try to provide the things those paying the bills actually want.

What would you say most people who pay the bills would like for their money? Perhaps an area that looks tidy, has facilities for use by the public, and has a weekly bin collection to prevent aging rubbish stinking the place out? as a bonus a town people would like to visit and a little incentive like an hours free parking here and there? - then look at copeland councils areas of cutbacks and increased charges, do we see a pattern here?

Chris Whiteside said...

That's exactly the point Jim.

Times are hard but what Copeland have done, through incompetence, malice or both, is cut services harder than they needed to while blaming "government cuts," take more money off local residents in council tax and car parking charges than they needed to, and left the money in the bank.

Possibly they hope to hand some of the money back next year to bribe people with their own money into voting Labour.

Anyone stupid enough to fall for that and vote Labour deserves to experience the poor service and dreadful value for money that a Labour council or government provides, but the rest of us don't.