Thursday, 23 February 2017

Cornwall Council Budget 2017 - 2018

 I was really disappointed that the Council voted to reject all the amendments put forward by the Conservative Group to the Annual Budget particularly our well-reasoned argument not to waste £536,000 on an opening gamble for the European Capital of Culture 2023.  That opening commitment could then lead to spending another £25 million if successful.

The best evidence is that Cornwall can not win even if the competition continues.

The government has already issued a warning that it will not be held responsible for any money lost as a result of entering the competition. We don't even need to read between the lines to understand what they are saying!

Although I campaigned for Remain, I do not think we need the European Union to tell us we are are a Capital of Culture.  Further, it appears that the Council has not read the rules of the competition and we will almost certainly not be eligible post Brexit.

So, a waste of £536,000 of our money. We said put it into pedestrian crossings and other schemes which will show a real-world benefit.

Cllr Biscoe backed the EU bid and said there was always money for highways. This is extraordinary and it is not what was said at a public meeting on Kenwyn Hill recently.

I am pleased that money has been obtained from the Conservative government for big schemes like the A30 and also extra money for potholes, such as £2.9m received last October.  The Council reannounced the £2.9m last week.  Cllr Biscoe claimed it had been found from Reserves.  Not so!

The Conservative Group also put forward that this sum be increased by a further £9m. This had been allocated to economic development but not spent.   There was still £23m left in that 'pot' anyway.

It is time the Council subjected economic development schemes to a lot more scrutiny. Not all are bad but even the general infrastructure schemes must show genuine value for money.  And just how much should the Council plough into speculative geothermal schemes or the Aerohub at Newquay?

I find that people are sceptical as to whether  Councillors know what they are doing spending money on economic development.  Who could blame them?

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