There are a number of typographical and format errors in this budget, however I won’t point them all out.
Where Will These Figures End-up When a Spade Is In The Ground & a Light Can Be Switched On?
One of significance refers to £60m for the joint venture in the report, but on page 190 the totals add up to £63m, this is £10m more than first envisaged. I wonder where this figure will end up when a spade is in the ground and a light can be switched on? I have also not seen any mention of commuted sums in these budgets, or how they are going to be used, but they need oversight.
This Is Hypocrisy Of The Highest Order
Regarding Councillor parking versus home to school transport: I wonder why the Greens did not include cycle mileage and free bus passes to reverse more of the budget reduction? Could it be because Green Party Councillors benefit greatly from these allowances? This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
We have heard a lot about government funding reductions this year but (as pointed out on page 15 para 4.4) the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) is reducing by £7.5m. However council tax increases and the Conservative Governments business rate retention initiative are bringing in an additional £12.7m. Along with this we see a huge number of other government grants, being made available to this council, to help sustain our budget and solve the city’s problems. Whether it be to integrate health and social care, to provide significant amounts of housing across the city, or to meet the challenge of increasing numbers of rough sleepers and tackle the waste of that human potential. It must therefore be the case that any reductions being made to front-line services is due to a fundamentally chaotic administration, that is systematically failing to deliver change at the pace other Council’s, generally Conservative ones are, up and down the country. This is namely down to their own infighting and union puppet masters saying jump – only for those to my left saying how high.
…This Will End-up Costing The State – Specifically The NHS…
One of those areas in the budget which I remain concerned about is the significant, and drastic, reduction of £600k from £4.9m to commissioning of STI prevention and treatment, contraception, HIV prevention and advice services (shown on page 102 and EIA 15 page 267). In the end, if this procurement (and I would like to see this come to PAB to see how providers can deliver the same or better services for less) goes wrong, this will end up costing the state, specifically the NHS, more.
None the less we have as a Group worked with the Administration to mitigate many of these frontline service reductions. Mainly targeted at youth provision across the city, I am going to talk mainly about two of the initiatives seen on page 17/18.
But before I do this, I must take issue with what The Green Party called a ‘sordid’ £460k put back into youth provision. This is not just a number. These are children’s lives. Children’s lives we are helping to change and shape for the better; and it is worth remembering this before making crass, partisan, and derisory remarks.
£70k For Additional Mental Health & Emotional Support
The extra £70k for additional mental health and emotional support for young people, through CAHMS, to support those in further education aged 16-19 in the city will provide much needed additional support to our most vulnerable young people. This means that many young people will feel better and achieve more with their lives.
£40k Into Treatment Of Substance Misuse With RUOK?
This is coupled with another £40k into substance misuse for RUOK? As we know we are ranked highest nationally for the consumption of cannabis by 15 year olds, and third highest in respect of their consumption of alcohol. This additional money will support young people abusing, and at risk of using, these substances. This funding can be used to help them realise the effects of substance abuse on their later life; hopefully preventing use, saving money for the state later down the line, and making those young people’s lives more likely to be prosperous.
We Fought. We Delivered.
Conservative Councillors locally have fought in this budget process for young people, we have fought to protect their mental health services, and we have fought to save services that deal with their addictions. We fought, and we delivered.