|Suffolk's Budget Consultation Logo|
Last year Norfolk carried out a similar exercise called the "big conversation" with some success and I certainly welcome the consultation. It is better than the cuts imposed last year without any such consultation but I do still have concerns about the way the consultation is being presented and in particular the continued use of disingenuous financial information.
The most striking of these is the continued mis-use of the 28% cut in Government funding to Suffolk figure. We hear in the Press Release:
Because of a 28% reduction in the amount of money it receives from central government, increased inflation and demand for services, Suffolk County Council has to save £50m in the next two years. This is on top of £43m saved by the council in the current financial year.This 28% figure is constantly used by councillors and council officials and it is indeed the amount that the Government has cut Suffolk's direct grants. However the Council is funded from three main income streams: Government Grant, Council Tax and Business Rates and when all three are taken into account the cut in Suffolk's income is more like 19.6% nearly 10% less....so using the figure this way is misleading to put it kindly.
I like the idea of Suffolk CC listening but I would like it even more if they were a bit more honest about their overall situation including their full income and the reserves they are holding.
If you want to find put more about the consultation and fill in the online questionnaire you can go to the Consultation Web Pages...or according to the website you can also pop down to your local library to get more information (good job it is still open then!).