As we are all aware the Government cannot indefinitely borrow money to finance it’s spending. We, as a country, must live within our means. That means that all areas of government spending, including local councils, must contribute to that goal. This does mean that Southampton City Council’s budget has seen some reductions over the last 5 years, however, handled properly that reduction should not have had the impact on our residents that the mismanagement by Southampton’s Labour Council has had. Failure to plan ahead, to share services, to utilise the private sector, to grasp opportunities and invest have all led to the current situation – it is time for Labour to admit their incompetence rather than solely blame the Government.
To put this in perspective, whilst reducing the Council’s Revenue Support Grant, the Government has given the Council tens of millions of pounds of additional grants. These include, nearly £6m this year alone for the New Homes Bonus, millions to ensure weekly bin collections (which the Council are planning on scrapping and taking the money for other areas), hundreds of thousands more for pothole repairs and tens of millions for highways projects and public realm to name but a few. On top of this additional money the Council is also raising council tax by nearly 5% this year.
It is also worth noting that the Council gave back to the Government over £1.1m from Right to Buy receipts which could have been spent building homes in our city – they talk about a housing crisis yet do nothing to help fix it – even when given the money to do so!
In short, whilst the Council does need to make savings, the Labour Administrations incompetence is a major contributing factor in the problems facing our great city today.