The Labour administration at Telford & Wrekin have overspent by £4.4m in just one year, having to spend two thirds of the contingency money in the council’s budget to balance the books.
The Tory leader, Andrew Eade, asked Labour what they were going to do about the “huge black hole in the budget” but doesn’t appear to have offered any solutions from what passes for the opposition at Malinsgate. Cllr McClements, the cabinet member with responsibility for watering the magic money tree, didn’t give any indication how he intended to balance the books next year preferring to accuse Cllr Eade of playing politics and telling him to complain to the Chancellor for imposing cuts. Which isn’t playing politics apparently.
We in UKIP Telford & Wrekin certainly don’t claim to have all the answers but we do at least tell you what answers we do have. We want a review of outsourcing to make sure it gives the taxpayer more value for money than providing services in-house and if it does we want the next outsourcing contract to be strong on performance-related pay. We want the council to stop spending money unnecessarily trying to tell headteachers what to do with their schools when they’re far better qualified to do the job themselves. We want to put a stop the ridiculous party political cabinet system that stops the council being run efficiently and put in an elected mayor with a much smaller cross-party cabinet of councillors who are grown up enough to work together instead of playing Prime Minister’s Question Time at our expense. We want to cut wages for highly paid staff at the council by capping the maximum wage they can earn at the council and rebalancing grades between average wage and the top end. We don’t think anyone should be able to earn a million pounds in less than a decade at the taxpayer’s expense. We want to make the taxi licensing system viable by bringing fees and licence conditions into line with neighbouring local authorities, taking away the incentives for taxi operators to register under Shropshire Council and other which deprives the council of revenue. We want to do away with the loss-making chargeable bulk waste collection system to combat fly tipping which is expensive to clean up and risks the council missing its EU recycling targets as fly tipping can’t be recycled which would result in fines. We want to make utility companies and highways contractors pay to fix their own shoddy road and footpath repairs, not council taxpayers and we want to stop wasteful anti-car projects designed to make driving in Telford & Wrekin as inconvenient and inefficient as possible.
As we said, we don’t have all the answers – nobody does – but as you can see we do have some of the answers and we’re committed to providing good value, quality services with as little burden on the council taxpayer as possible. No other party in Telford & Wrekin has a manifesto and none of their councillors or candidates can tell you what plans they have for the town because they have no ambition and no vision.