At their last Cabinet meeting SCC’s Tories revealed that they had underspent a total of £13.1m in the last financial year. Much of this money is going into the already large reserves (now standing at £158m).
Yes, you heard me right.
At a time of huge financial stress when we need to make best use of every penny, they quite unnecessarily took more than £13m from our hard-pressed services and entrusted it to the banks.
They must be the last people left in the country who have any faith left in bankers.
And they put their trust in the banking system at a time when public money is desperately needed to support the local economy. When the community is reeling under the impact of lost public services .
The Conservative administration has told us they’ve cut these services because they were unaffordable. This is how they have justified the huge damage that they have inflicted on Suffolk’s public transport – by tellling us that “you can’t spend a pound more than once,”(as the Cabinet member responsible has told us rather more than once).
Now it seems clear that the Cabinet just doesn’t want to spend some of these (our) pounds at all.
We live in a time where belt-tightening may be unavoidable, but it is clear that the Conservatives’ cutting has been overly-enthusiastic. The money they have put into low-interest reserves could better be spent on restoring such valued and socially valuable services as the eXplore youth travel Card, our closed Household Waste Recycling Centres, the Bury Road Park and Ride, many axed bus routes, and those essential and valued walk-in Youth clubs (so useful for those who cannot afford subscription activities) as well as improving the bus pass conditions for Suffolk elderly and disabled.
These were all services that my colleagues and I argued to reinstate at Budget time, but it fell on deaf ears. More than deaf ears – as I recall, the Leader suggested our budget had been ‘scribbled on the back of a fag packet.’
Better than on the front of a paying-in slip, Cllr Bee!
Suffolk County’s Conservatives would much rather invest our money in banks than in the people of Suffolk – preferring to build up capital than to build social capital.