Liberal Democrats take the Lead on Herts County Council in Criticising Government Delays and Uncertainty regarding Next Year's Funding

August 18, 2019 10:22 PM

The Liberal Democrat Group on Herts County Council is active in leading on matters of general concern as well as specific local problems.

At the Meeting of 16th July they were able to ensure that the delays and uncertainty regarding the Authority's funding for 2020/21 were debated. But preparation is usually the key to success and by engaging constructively in dialogue with the Conservative Majority Group beforehand the two parties were able to agree a motion which both could support.

A jointly supported motion focussing in a dispassionate way on the real problems and dangers for the delivery of services to the people of Hertfordshire always carries more weight with Whitehall than a one-sided political protest.

Local Authority WorkThe following motion proposed by Cllr Paul Zukowskyj and duly seconded by Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who accepted an amendment by Cllrs Ralph Sangster and David Williams, and the amended motion as set out below was CARRIED:

"Hertfordshire County Council notes that:

a) The Financial Outlook Report, presented to all cabinet panels, sets out the challenging financial position that the Council faces due to continuing uncertainty about the future level and sources of funding for services for the people of Hertfordshire at a time when demographic change is increasing demand for these services

b) The scope for further savings without seriously impacting services provided to the people of Hertfordshire is limited

c) The uncertainty about future funding caused by the delay in the government's spending review and fair funding review, a lack of clarity about the future allowed level of council tax rises and a continued failure to publish the Adult Social Care Green Paper is adversely impacting the Council's budget

This Council welcomes the decision at Resources & Performance Cabinet Panel that the Chairman of the Panel write to all Hertfordshire MPs setting out these concerns and challenges, and believes all means possible should be taken to bring these issues to the attention of Government.

The Council therefore requests that the Leader of the Council in his new role as Chairman of the County Councils Network ensures that the CCN's advocacy, including meeting with Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government ministers, reflects the Council's concerns over the challenges this Council faces in delivering adequate services with the current level of funding and also explains how the ongoing uncertainty over local government funding is causing even more difficulty in the budget setting process.

This Council believes that the vital services delivered by local government should be properly resourced by a combination of locally and nationally raised funds, with clarity on funding levels set on a rolling basis over a four-year period."