Friday, 3 February 2012

Who says we won't listen?

Over recent years opposition parties have complained that it is not worth them making proposals as to budget amendments because the Administration does not listen. Events over the last week have proved them wrong. The Lib Dems have recently raised a number of issues including whether we can find funds to reintroduce limited free swimming for the over 65s. I have discussed this with cabinet and officers and identified that we can allocate some health funding for 2 years with a review in 18 months. We have also agreed that we will re launch the Advantage Card which can be accommodated within the existing budget and have agreed to request a paper on the financial and practical ramifications of offering council tax rebates to special constables.

I have repeatedly invited opposition groups to use our process of extended scrutiny of the budget to come up with budget amendments/suggestions which are either cost neutral or proposed with a corresponding saving on the understanding that we will carefully consider them and if we think they are reasonable accept them. I am pleased that the Lib Dem group have raised these suggestions, which have a negligible financial effect and which we are happy to implement. Perhaps other groups will follow this lead which has been sadly missing from all opposition parties over recent years.

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