Labour to the Rescue?
I was interested to read the report in last nights Herald Express of Nick Bye and Elizabeth Raikes' trip to the House of Commons to meet the local Government minister Phil Woolas last week concerning the budget grant made by his department.
Clearly 'anything is worth a try' when the budget deficit is £9,000,000 and we have a Government more interested in piling new costs and new responsibilities onto local authorities than putting in the cash to pay for them. There is little doubt that on top of this, the Government do have an agenda to redistribute grant monies away from areas like Torbay and in favour of areas that they belive are more needy -mostly in the North- which a cynic might suggest means more help to many marginal Labour constituencies.
During the Lib Dems disastrous budget crisis of 2003/4 I can remember a very great deal of public hand-wringing about the government grant situation from our Lib Dem MP and I know that he spent a great deal of time trying to dissuade the Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford from capping the tax rise.
Again in 2005 under a Lib Dem council he spent much time and effort blaming the Government for the woes of Torbay council and pleading for more cash. Sadly he failed to achieve anything on both occasions.
However I am hoping that the Government are more likely to take Mr Bye and Mrs Raikes pleas more seriously than they were prepared to listen to Mr Sanders; for one simple reason (and it's not because Labour ministers don't like the Liberal Democrats!).
Mr Sanders' colleagues were asking for more money having awarded themselves a 65% payrise and after having wasted hundreds of thousands on madcap schemes like the toilets fiasco.