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Council asks staff to cut hours and consider voluntary redundancy

January 12, 2009 8:23 PM
Spelthorne Council Offices

Spelthorne Council is asking staff to consider reduced hours or voluntary redundancy

The announcement by Spelthorne Council that it is asking its staff to reduce working hours and consider voluntary redundancy is a very worrying development. It is difficult to see how this can be achieved without damaging cuts to core services.

The Council is blaming the current recession and the credit crunch for its problems but this is not In fact the case. The main sources of Council income, Council Tax and Government grant, are not affected by the credit crunch to any significant degree. The truth of the matter is that the Council has allowed itself to become totally reliant on interest on its cash reserves to balance the books.

Spelthorne Liberal Democrats have been expressing concerns about the details of the Councils finances for a number of years and we have been completely ignored. The budget for the current year is not soundly based and this was pointed out by Lib Dem Councillors at the time.

(See http://spelthornelibdems.org.uk/news/000049/council_keep_on_raiding_reserves.html)

Councillor Lawrence Nichols said "Spelthorne's Tory Executive must take responsibility for this problem. They have repeatedly failed to properly balance the books, preferring instead to misuse our reserves. This policy was doomed to failure one day, and that day has now come."

In the last 10 years the Council has spent over £47m of its reserves (including the investment income generated) and now only about £20m remains. All the money raised from selling off the Council's housing stock in 1996 has now been spent. Not only has the Council been relying on the interest to bolster its income but it has also been spending the reserves at a completely unsustainable rate.

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