LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER TORIES "SLASH AND BURN" OF COUNTY COUNCIL SERVICES

October 15, 2009 5:31 PM

Liberal Democrats have mounted a legal challenge to the Tory cabinet on Gloucestershire County Council. This is done using the council's "call-in" rules. Now Council Scrutiny will begin investigating the cabinet's plan to axe 500 unidentified jobs.

Cabinet on 29th of September took a decision to increase funding of the private consultant led Building our Future (BOF) project team from £6million to £7million. This team have been employed to find cash savings and axe jobs. The Liberal Democrats are deeply concerned about the BOF team secrecy over proposals to axe jobs and the huge cost to local taxpayers.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: "We have challenged the cabinet decision because we are worried where the 500 job losses will be and the negative impact this might have on council services. Vulnerable people who rely on us to provide personal care might be at risk. The cabinet is keeping the people of Gloucestershire in the dark. This slash and burn approach to making savings does not have our support. That is why we have mounted our legal challenge."

The Liberal Democrats legal challenge also states concern about the cabinet plan to spend £11m on redundancy costs and the use of council emergency balances to fund this.

"Blowing 60% of our emergency reserves on redundancy costs is crazy. This will leave little to cover for a rainy day, such as the floods of 2007. We could run out of money if another major emergency took place in future," said Cllr Jeremy Hilton.

Deputy leader, Cllr Dennis Andrewartha, Liberal Democrat said "We fully understand that significant savings must be made in county council costs. But these savings should be well planned, clear to all staff and of benefit to Gloucestershire taxpayers. What we have seen is a mismatch of incomprehensible jargon and financial forecasts that make little sense. We cannot risk the future of our public services to this type of incompetent administration"