Fudge for the future with the Lib-Dems    

Colchester’s Lib-Dem administration is launching its “Fit for the Future”, an austerity campaign to cut £4.8m from its budget over the next three years and reduce staff numbers by 25%. This is on top of the average £1.8m of cuts and savings needed to balance the budgets in each of the next 5 years.

Its 78 page strategy comes in four parts, creates a new committee and lays out elaborate processes.  But it gives little idea as to what savings will be made or what they will mean for residents.  Cllr Dennis Willets (Lexden & Braiswick Ward) described it as a “fudge for the future” and a “Sir Humphrey masterpiece”. The Conservative opposition is united in opposition to this strategy. 

Conservative Group Leader Cllr Paul Dundas (Tiptree Ward) said: “this is exactly the wrong way to do things.  We will have a long drawn-out bureaucratic process while staff morale declines.  Good people will leave and the reputation of the Council will suffer as services are left in tatters.  The Council desperately needs a stronger political leadership and it is frustrating that we can do so little from the opposition benches.”

Opposition finance spokesman Cllr William Sunnucks (Rural North Ward) said “Most of this programme isn’t necessary.  The Administration running the Council refused even to consider our budget amendments which would have saved £3.2m per annum AND accelerated the building of affordable housing. We have other ideas, but no opportunity to present them.  We are fed up with the way that problems are suppressed and sensible suggestions are swept away in a tide of politics and PR.”

Conservatives pledge to run the Council in a transparent manner, prioritising the frontline services which residents expect
and reducing exposure to property development schemes which are better handled by the private sector.