Saturday, 12 January 2013

So why is the Conservative Leader's budget not the same as the Leader of the Conservatives' budget?

It seems like Cornwall Conservatives are bidding to out-omnishambles George Osborne with their budget.

On Wednesday, the Leader of the Council - Conservative Jim Currie - published his administration's finance proposals for the coming year. They are looking to find about £6.3 million of front line service cuts (despite the promise made last year that there would be no need for additional savings this year). They also propose a rise in council tax of 1.97% after two years of freezes.

But last night it emerged that there will be a different Conservative budget which will seek a further year of council tax freeze. We don't yet know any more details of this proposal and might not do so until just before the formal council tax setting meeting in mid February. That's because amendments aren't subject to formal scrutiny (but do have to be signed off by the chief finance officer of the council).

What is most strange about this whole scenario is that the cabinet member for finance is Fiona Ferguson, the Leader of the Conservative group on the council. So it appears that she is set to vote against the budget she is responsible for.

I'm inclined to think that her position on the cabinet (at least in the finance role) is untenable if she continues to oppose her own budget. Surely she must back the administration's official budget, persuade her colleagues to adopt her budget as the official one or resign from the cabinet?

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