Even with the benefit of hindsight available in April 2015, I did not change what I said at Budget Council on 4 March 2009, as Leader of the Conservative Group. In summary, what I said was:-

Wages and salaries paid for by Council Tax are such a high proportion of the Council's total expenditure that we kid ourselves if we pretend we can make significant financial cuts without also causing significant job losses. In this year's budget, a restructuring reserve has been created of nearly £1m to be used for redundancy payments and for paying compensation to encourage early retirements. Instead of paying for services, the taxpayers of this District will be paying for some of the City's current employees NOT to work to provide the services we regard as part of the fabric of local life.

If only a few jobs had been removed from the City Council's establishment each month by failing to fill casual vacancies when they arose, each such job would have been one less job that may have to be removed in the future by making a post holder redundant. Removing a job from a list of vacancies is essentially a paper exercise. It is very different from bringing an end to the existing career of an actual person, whose livelihood the job currently provides.

A Conservative budget would have been based on ...
(1) using natural staff turnover to gradually reduce expenditure to within affordable limits and keep it there
(2) reducing unproductive spending
(3) concentrating on front-line services
(4) taking steps to ensure that fairness to all local communities was restored, and once restored, was upheld.

My full reports to the Council for my activities as a Cabinet Member in 2007-8, 2008-9 and 2009-10 are available in the Agenda papers for the April Council meetings in 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively at www.lancaster.gov.uk

Reports of my contributions to Council meetings in the period from May 2011 to May 2019 can be read from the Council minutes - also available on the City Council's website.


The Stone Jetty - Morecambe