Peterborough City Council is to have its grant from central government cut by £3 million pounds in this financial year. Councillor Sandford from the LibDems tells the BBC’s Paul Stainton where he thinks the cuts should fall. Broadcast at 08:34 on Friday 11th June 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
STAINTON: Other big news this morning is that Peterborough has had the money it receives from Government cut by three million pounds. It was announced late yesterday. Here’s the reaction from David Seaton Cabinet Member for Resources on Peterborough City Council. (TAPE)
SEATON: I think it would have been better if perhaps they’d taken into account how efficient our council is, local issues such as immigration, and then drawn conclusions. But I’m not the Secretary for State. (LIVE)
STAINTON: Nick Sandford was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough. He’s on the phone now. Morning Nick.
SANDFORD: Morning Paul.
STAINTON: Where do we start? Three million pounds, what are we going to cut?
SANDFORD: Yes. I think we have to put this into context. Because what the Government’s actually doing is they’re embarking on a radical decentralisation of powers from central government to local authorities. So the amount of money that the local authority receives, the Council is going to have much more freedom to spend it as they choose. Whereas the previous government used to dictate how the money was going to be spent. But I think we’ve all got to recognise that the country’s in a serious condition. The budget deficit’s a hundred and seventy billion pound, a quite incredible figure. So savings have to be made. What we would really like to see the Council do is not to do a salami slicing exercise, so that every department has to cut its budget. That will impact on services. They need to look at some of the really grandiose projects that our current Conservative administration is proposing and say could we cut out some of those.
STAINTON: So you’re talking water taxis, incinerators, consultants, that sort of stuff?
SANDFORD: Yes. We’re talking about the things that if we had a local authority that was in times of plenty, we could think about some of these ideas. But if you look at the figures the water taxis is six hundred thousand, the incinerator, over sixty million pounds. So these savings are only a tiny fraction of the cost of that project. The consultants, we’ve had figures of eight million, nine million and twelve million. So if they cut the number of consultants by twenty five per cent, they could make the three million pounds worth of savings.
STAINTON: Nick. Thank you for that.