The Conservatives who run a minority administration on Gloucester City Council face a vote of no confidence on the 24th January, which if passed, would see the sacking of Paul James as leader of the council and his cabinet.
The no confidence motion will be moved by the Liberal Democrat group. Gloucester City Council is only one of two councils in the country that has failed to sign off its 2011/12 accounts, the other is Birmingham. Both councils have been named and shamed by the Audit Commission. Audited accounts should have been completed by the 30th September 2012. They are used as a base to predict income and spending for 2013/14.
Liberal Democrat leader, Jeremy Hilton who will propose the vote of no-confidence said: “The city council is facing a financial tsunami that is all of the making of Paul James and his Tory cabinet. Last year’s accounts haven’t been completed and now the council has to set the council tax for the coming year. We cannot rely on the accuracy of the council’s financial accounts. The complacency of the Tory administration is unbelievable.”
Deputy Leader Sebastian Field said: “The financial situation on Gloucester City Council is dire. The Tories are proposing £2.4 million worth of cuts and we still don’t have an accurate base to predict spending in the future. The Tories cannot cope and they should go. We can win the vote of no confidence if Labour councillors vote with us.”
It is understood that independent auditors KPMG are investigating the council’s books but still cannot get the figures to add up.
Liberal Democrat leader, Jeremy Hilton confirmed that his party would work with other councillors in a new administration to sort out the council’s financial affairs, he said: “We must do what is best for Gloucester and working with councillors from other parties to stabilise the council’s finances is on our agenda.”
1. No Confidence Motion
“That this council notes that the Conservative administration has failed to present, on time, audited accounts for the financial year 2011/12. This should have been done by the 30th September 2012 deadline.
This council notes it has been named and shamed by the Audit Commission (15th Dec 2012) as only one of two councils in the entire country to fail to complete its 2011/12 accounts.
This council agrees that it has no confidence in the leader of the council and his cabinet, and requests that they resign immediately, so that a new administration can be formed to sort out the financial mess that the council is now in.”
Proposed: Jeremy Hilton
Seconded: Sebastian Field
2. Audit Commission Report http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Downloads/ata1112.pdf