A high level meeting has been held between the leadership of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives on Gloucester City Council, to try and resolve the financial crisis engulfing the council.
Currently, the Tories are in charge of the council, but are facing a vote of no confidence on the 24th January because of the council’s failure to complete audited accounts for 2011/12. The no confidence voted is being proposed by the Liberal Democrats.
Liberal Democrat group leader, Jeremy Hilton has described the council as facing a financial tsunami because of its failure to complete audited accounts for 2011/12. The accounts should be used as a base to predict income and spending for the forthcoming financial year and in helping to set the council tax.
The Liberal Democrats have issued the leader of the council Paul James with a ten-point demand (see below) for information covering every aspect of the council’s finances in order that a sound budget can be set for 2013/14.
Jeremy Hilton said: “I am demanding that Tories complete the accounts for 2011/12, provide full disclosure of the additional auditor’s costs, provide an estimated outturn for this year and supply a detailed explanation on how they plan to make £2.4m cuts. Financial control under the Tories is a disaster; we must sort out the finances of the city council for the sake of the council’s reputation.”
“The Tories are proposing £2.4 million worth of cuts with just 75 words of explanation across sixteen budget headings. Information on the proposed budget is palpable. The announcement of the capital programme for next year is delayed and money in reserves is not being made public.”
Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Sebastian Field confirmed that his party would work with other councillors to sort out the council’s financial affairs, he said: “The financial situation on Gloucester City Council is dire. We must do what is best for Gloucester, we must stabilise the council’s finances.”
Liberal Democrat information requirements – City Council budget 2013/14 – handed to Paul James 17/01/2013
1. The projected outturn against the 2012/13 budget against all budget headings
2. Full details of the reserves as they stood at 31st March 2012 and the projected reserves at 31st March 2013, including full explanation of each reserve
3. Completed audited accounts for the 2011/12 financial year
4. The extra cost of the late completion of the audited accounts for 2011/12 in both staff time and fees to be paid to external auditors
5. Full list of virements between budget heads made in the current financial year over £5,000.
6. Full list of each council direct services charge (inc fee value) and the income per charge in financial years 2011/12 and 201213 (estimate)
7. The capital programme for 2013/14
8. Full analysis of the £2.435 million worth of savings proposed, giving clear details of how the savings are going to be achieved and how the service spending compares to the financial years 2011/12 and 2012/13
9. High Level report into the current contract with Enterprise including the expected outcomes for each service within the contract; include staff profile
10. Copy of all documentation presented to the cabinet briefing held on the 16th January related to the 2013/14 budget proposals