The Tories Are “Trying To Bankrupt Waverley” – says Knowless!
Backbench Councillors are expecting to be told that “ Our Leader Bobby Knowles” will be announcing that hikes in Council Tax rates are unavoidable, accusing the Tory government of “trying to bankrupt Waverley”.
And there we were, thinking that Councillor Knowless and his Conservative Party apparatchiks – numbering 53 of Waverley’s 57 Councillors – were the leading troopers in South West Surrey’s support network for our MP Jeremy and PM Dave.
Being on the verge of bankruptcy, a Members’ Pre-Budget Briefing was hastily arranged for yesterday afternoon, as a pre-meeting for the Joint O&S Meeting on Monday (18th). We’re guessing that Councillors were told of the outcome of the ‘consultation’ with the Treasury/CLG since a 52% cut in the government grant to WBC was announced in December : “sadly no change, the Tory Leaders are still evil” ?
It seems the final number for the shortfall is about £1 million, and was totally unexpected, despite the External Auditors’ Report to the Audit Committee Members in September and the Members’ ‘Finance Seminar’ in October both having made it pretty clear they’d need to find a million.
Every Christmas, as the panto season arrives, so does Waverley’s own little play. It’s the same storyline every year: “Oh shock horror, the government has cut our grant, so we’re justified in cutting grants to any community organisations who dare to question our integrity, and we’re making massive savings through the Star Chamber”. But this year it’s slightly different, because the government has dropped their bribe to Councils which don’t increase Council Tax.
So Mr Knowles is playing a game of “Guess how much of a rise in Council Tax we’re going to claim is both unavoidable, and a responsible thing to impose.”
The new Corporate Plan calls this “honest and transparent”. This is Our Leader’s rant in WBC’s Christmas 2015 Press Release.
“Following today’s announcement that the Government is slashing the funding Waverley receives to deliver vital services to local residents, the Leader of Waverley Borough Council, Councillor Robert Knowles, said: “I am horrified that the Government is cutting 52% from Waverley Borough Council’s grant.
Today’s announcement is much more of a severe cut than was initially anticipated and means that Waverley may have to cut services and increase Council Tax just to balance the books. The Government is determined to strip Waverley of its financial resources. This year a 52% reduction – next year virtually no grant at all.
Also, the promise made by Government that Waverley, like other authorities, will be able to keep more of the business rates they collect also seems to be a false promise as today’s announcement suggests no extra money is coming to Waverley.
On the one hand the Government is extending the New Home Bonus with the guise it is for the delivery of new homes, when really it is a just a sweetener to local authorities but no substitute. Using the New Homes Bonus to replace the grant is basically dishonest, unsustainable and forcing even more pressure on Waverley and the South East.
The Government is trying to bankrupt Waverley, and the news about the grant settlement has been sourced from online media.”
You’re not accusing Conservative Leaders of making false promises and being “basically dishonest” are you Bobby? You don’t trust them…can we then trust you?
So what increase in the Waverley Council Tax Base rate are you actually proposing?
The same party which has just earmarked £3m of our money to help developers like Crest Nicholson to get their hands on the Brightwells Gostrey Site in central Farnham to oil the wheels of the East Street development! Whose bankrupting who?