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Residents set to pay for Conservative mismanagement

December 2, 2003 9:20 AM

Residents face a big Council Tax rise as the Council has to find money to cover a £700,000 hole in Council finances left by the previous Conservative administration. Leader of Shepway District Council, Cllr Linda Cufley, will today announce the Council Tax increase for next year, as part of a four year financial plan for the district.

Since coming to power in May, the Lib Dems have done their best to tackle the huge problems left behind by the Conservatives. However, despite reducing waste and cutting Councillors pay, residents will have to foot the bill of years of Conservative mismanagement.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Linda Cufley said, "For years we repeatedly told the Conservatives that they were taking the finances to ruin but they would not listen. Our top pledge in the local elections was to sort out the financial chaos that the Conservatives had created. Since we took control in May we have found countless examples of financial madness and it has taken months to get a clear picture."

"Our investigations have revealed a catalogue of basic errors. The Tories made 'one off' savings but tried to make these fund long term schemes that needed funding each and every year. They kept raiding council reserves to fund current expenditure. Worst of all, they told the public that savings had been made when they had not - they announced the savings but then didn't actually make the savings."

Cllr Paul Marsh said, "We are on record as voting against the last 2 budgets. We knew that they not deliverable."

"The situation has been made worse by the fact that the Labour Government is setting ever higher targets for the Council without supplying the required funding. Cllr Marsh explained, "This year's grant does not even cover inflation, but we are expected to achieve more and more in areas like recycling."

Cllr Cufley added, "The true cost of the last 4 years of mismanagement and weak leadership is now coming home to roost. I invite anyone to take a look at the facts that we have inherited to see that this is the case. We will not repeat the errors of the last 4 years."