The Conservative Group on BCP Council have formally called for the ruling Liberal Democrat alliance to bring back plans to modernise the Council, originally promised by Local Government Reorganisation (“LGR”) a year ago but formally put on hold this month.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is a Health and Economic crisis of enormous scale. We welcome the huge mobilisation effort from officers in relation to the Health emergency whilst calling into question the administration’s financial planning response to date.
With a huge loss in the Council’s income expected through diminished receipts in areas like car parking it is without doubt that we will have a financial hole that is well in excess of our reserves. Any commercial organisation would have immediately looked at a financial response but briefings with senior officers shockingly revealed that this administration hadn’t even started on how to recover this loss.
We are in the hugely fortunate position that we are one of the only authorities in the country that has a Transformation agenda because of the LGR programme. This Transformation of the three preceding Councils into one modern, efficient, fit-for-purpose organisation should absolutely be at the heart of any financial response. We believe that we have identified between £50m-£60m of savings over 3 years that the administration are missing and have called for our commercial plan to be brought forward and reviewed.
Key headlines include making use of economies of scale in this year rather than waiting until Year Three as proposed, being more ambitious about the transformation opportunity as a whole and reviewing the estates strategy that currently includes spending £20m+ to refurbish an existing building.
We want to work positively with the Administration and believe that our plan to explore savings of £50m-£60m over three years is tantamount to that commitment.”
Drew Mellor, Conservative Group Leader and
Shadow Portfolio Holder for Transformation.