Fringe Box



Letter: I Still Have Some Questions About GBC’s Budget

Published on: 30 Jul, 2023
Updated on: 30 Jul, 2023

From: Gavin Morgan

See: GBC’s Lead Finance Councillor Answers on the Borough’s Financial Challenge

There are still some fundamental questions needed to help the public understand the difficult decisions the Council must make. An overall picture of the council’s income and expenditure would be helpful to all.

The problem we are told is fundamentally that the council is having to pay a lot of interest on its £300 million borrowings for projects like Weyside Urban Village, Ash Bridge and other projects. So how much interest does the council pay and what is its income?  How much does it need to keep services going?

The immediate problem we are told is that the council has a projected £3 million deficit on the 23/24 budget and an £18 million deficit on the 2024-27 budget, based on an assumption it had £32 million in the bank when in fact it only had £8 million.

But, Cllr Bigmore [R4GV, Merrow] pointed out that the council has £1.1 billion in assets. Even if half of this is housing stock (which can’t be sold) why can’t the council just sell £21 million in assets to get through this problem?

Lead councillor for Finance Richard Lucas [Lib Dem, Ash Vale] said at one meeting that cash flow is not the issue. Does this mean there is sufficient income to cover expenditure on basic services?

Lack of information makes me wonder if there is something even more serious. Why must services be cut to meet a £21 million shortfall when there is so much in assets. Is it because most of these assets are tied up in some way? Or is this £300 like a giant iceberg that will sink the council if some dramatic course correcting does not happen now?

The public will feel the impact of these cuts so has a right to understand why they must happen.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *