This afternoon I have another meeting to discuss Sefton's budget. I general terms after the Comprehensive Spending Review Sefton had to reduce its budget by around £44m. To date we have managed to identify £27m which leaves us with a black hole of £17m. Some of the savings we have agreed ( I say agreed but labour voted against without proposing an alternative) include a 25% reduction in Management which needs to be fleshed out.
I am keen that we keep explaining to our residents what we are doing and not hide from them the impact of our decisions. We can have a debate about how much and how quickly local Govt needs to reduce its expenditure again but the pressing reality is that we need to make decisions fast. Delay and procrastination only makes the situation worse as it will result in having to make additional cuts. It is worth saying that in Government Labour acknowledged the need for cuts and proposed around £92billion. Or to express it another way they had proposed a fiscal tightening of 1.5% of GDP in 2011/12. As my colleague Simon Shaw pointed out in the council chamber the difference between the Government plan and the labour plan is remarkably small and beyond 2010/11 amounts to about 0.5% of GDP which is well within forecasting error! I wonder if Labour had been in power whether Unite et all would have been going round threatening industrial chaos. Ah well.
Some local authorities have come up with online tools to help residents understand the budget situation. This allows them to carry out the same exercise as I am embarked on this afternoon. Please have a look and see what you think. I would be pleased to hear you opinion.
The example below comes from Redbridge and can be found here