For once Councillor Quigley is correct when he says there is no huge hole in the council’s finances.
In fact what he has left us with is more like a canyon. This was apparent some months ago, when his Tories failed to address certain issues raised by my colleagues. Most councils blame the other lot, but the evidence here is overwhelming, and the Conservatives are guilty of gross neglect and incompetence.
Current projections show that if action is not taken quickly we will be heading for a near half million pounds overspend early next year. This is without any further cuts by the Government and another planning debacle that will cost council tax payers serious cash. For Guardian readers benefit a recent planning decision which professional officers recommended to grant was overturned by the Tory councillors present. The council has lost the appeal and will have to pay substantial costs. Anyone remember Vesuvius and feel that something is wrong somewhere.
Having failed miserably they bungled big time on CCTV. Until this Labour Council stepped in there was a real risk that cameras would be switched off. Their confusion and delay was akin to almost trying to sabotage an excellent scheme. They have neglected our community centres and failed lamentably to address the growing problems of age and safety in some. A promised report on there condition never came forward, but it will shortly and we will clear up their neglect. Again more confusion and delay.
Only very recently, I was made aware of a six figure problem regarding unfunded posts within the council. The true extent of this budget problem needs investigating and questions are being asked, such as, was there any late meddling in the budget setting process? For instance, were officers pressurized into late changes to present a rosier picture?
These are only some of the issues that Labour councillors have asked to be addressed urgently to sort out this appalling legacy. We will face our responsibilities and make decisions that may not always be palatable. We will not massage any figures and hide the extent of any problems, and if this means Councillor Quigley has to shuffle uncomfortably and answer difficult questions so be it.
COUNCILLOR GRAHAM OXBY
Leader Bassetlaw District Council