St Luke's School Council meeting. Sample containing about 12299 words speech recorded in public context

6 speakers recorded by respondent number C774

PS4TF X m (Hilliard, age unknown, councillor) unspecified
PS4TG X m (No name, age unknown, head of council) unspecified
PS4TH X m (Evans, age unknown, councillor) unspecified
PS4TJ X m (Howarth, age unknown, councillor) unspecified
KGXPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
KGXPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 124201 recorded on unknown date. LocationCambridgeshire: Cambridge () Activity: meeting

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [1] And carry on just as if er we were proceeding immediately after the ... proposed excellent introduction and as if the intervening weeks just hadn't occurred.
[2] ... When this ... matter was discussed at housing committee, I believe it's only last week but it seems a lot longer ago, I spoke at some length about the errors and fallacies in the report ... arguing against a case that officers have put forward, pointing out mistakes and erroneous conclusions ... that seem to have been drawn from some very flimsy evidence.
[3] I promised members after that erm meeting that er I would bring forward ... different arguments tonight ... and that is exactly what I ... hope to do.
[4] I want to speak on only one angle and that is capital.
[5] Now most large businesses actually need capital.
[6] They need it to finance new projects and which they ultimately hope those projects will bring in a profit on the capital employed.
[7] But once employed as capital that money stays there, it's stuck ... and hopefully it earns money but it's stuck there forever until the sale of that asset is is a achieved.
[8] Many companies when needing to finance new projects have to raise more capital.
[9] This is often done by obtaining money in the form of loans, venture capital guarantees and that sort of effort.
[10] But if those forms of capital aren't available then the business has to raise capital by some other means and this is very often done by liquidated assets that they currently hold and releasing the capital for the new project.
[11] So the use of capital is fluid, right, it it's in a state of dynamic equilibrium as a biologist would be prepared to call it.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Hilliard (PS4TF) [12] And it is not ... it is not fixed ... it is not fixed or in geological terms, petrified.
[13] ... We in this council operate .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
Hilliard (PS4TF) [14] We in this council operate a housing business ... with an annual turnover ... in excess of twenty four million pounds.
[15] Anyone who says we are not operating a business is deluding themselves.
[16] ... We have an acknowledged need to invest more capital to provide more housing for the most needy in our population.
[17] The way it is at present, we cannot [...] , we cannot get more loot to put into the new project but the bank manager, i.e. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, reminded us a few months ago that the other way of funding our projects ... he encouraged us to look at our current assets and if possible liquidate some of that asset ... and fund it, or or use it to fund our new schemes and this Mr Mayor is what we should be doing.
[18] We must sell some of our houses ... and use the money we gain from that to fund ... the provision of new housing in the City.
[19] To miss out on the opportunity afforded to us ... by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to deny those in the greatest housing need ... the opportunity to get decent low cost housing.
[20] So ... my the, in my mind the best way forward is for this council to promote the right to buy and I fully support this motion and I would urge members of this council to ignore the report that comes back from the housing committee.
[21] Thank you Mr Mayor.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [22] Thank you Mr Mayor ... erm a week is a ... quite a long time in housing but er er
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [23] especially housing finance terms, I mean the system's probably gonna change again by, you know, by that sort of time.
[24] I think it's quite remarkable er that Councillor can come along and blindly say, well we've had a report back to housing committee, housing committee's considered this matter and the vast majority of people found it fairly unacceptable but we'll ignore that, we'll ignore that, fine, well I s'pose if you want to ignore it that's fine but ... I think ... w we do face here a a key issue and the issue [...] of capital receipts, as you rightly say, is an important one.
[25] Now ... question is whether or not there is ... a simple ability to ... realise a capital receipt ... and use it ... I think, and if that were true, if what you're saying is true and there was some net gain to be made very easily then I think we would have a hard time, perhaps, refusing what you're saying.
[26] But it isn't true.
[27] That's the whole point.
[28] It is not a simple case that we can run along, sell a few houses, get the capital receipts and suddenly we can go off and have a wonderful programme and replace the assets which we have sold and when we're talking about assets in this case I think there's one crucial difference between us and you and that is we recognise that that isn't just an asset ... it is a person's home ... a person's home, that's so important ... an a I'm, just to talk about it as if it is ... is something else, y'know, just some ... petrified lump of cattle, petrified lump of stock money that was doing no good whatsoever, is a nonsense ... and I think most of us would agree that it is a complete and utter nonsense.
[29] Anyway ... why, why can't we easily use these capital receipts?
[30] Well there are a number of reasons, some of which are specific to the Cambridge [...] to the context of this authority.
[31] ... As you will be well aware, as a member of housing committee, we do actually have faced a substantial ... crisis in terms of the availability of land ... which we can make available ... for building, that is one of the problems, possibly a short term problem, but nonetheless one of the problems ... key ones, which we face here.
[32] So we can't just realise the asset, dash out and build a house ... through a housing association ... because we have this crucial land problem.
[33] Now ... if our assets ... if by promoting the right to buy, by having capital receipts we seem to have ... a large balance building up, there is the distinct risk given the sort of policies that this government has pursued over time of a [...] ... we will be running a risk there, we don't know what they're going to do, you don't know what they're going to do.
[34] But ... let's face it ... I mean if a lot of local authorities are in similar sorts of positions and a lot of balances are building up, well the money just might run away mightn't it ... it's happened before, I think it might happen again.
[35] I mean I don't, I don't believe that your government is stupid ... er it may be immoral on occasions, it may be wrong but I don't believe it's necessarily stupid.
[36] They've had a long time to crack a lot of these problems ... pardon
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] ... [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [37] What's the evidence?
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [38] Well admit I I cannot actually bring an evidence at this point in time to support that er, that er er assertion.
[39] So ... if you were serious about promoting ... social housing over time what you would be working for is not a stop go economy in housing, not a stopped go regime in terms of halas housing finance, but a stable, a long term commitment towards er er a financial regime that will actually bring that housing through ... and that is something you have not done.
[40] I mean the autumn statement ... blindly goes a hundred percent ... to a hundred percent use of capital receipts.
[41] It just as [...] go back.
[42] Now that's no way ... no way to run the railway I was gonna say but that's probably ... [laughing] probably not the best choice of words in the present circumstances. []
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [43] But it isn't, it isn't a way to actually run a decent social housing programme.
[44] We need stability over the medium term at the very least in order to produce the units that we need, not this sort of one minute you're off, one minute you're not ... and again, if you were serious the resources were already there, there in terms of the capital receipts that people already had.
[45] You could've let us use some of that eight, over eight million pounds that we have stuffed away, set aside ... to actually promote our social housing ... programme.
[46] So ... basically, I don't think that it is a simple picture ... of being able to get a capital receipt and go out and use it.
[47] There will be occasions where indeed if people ar people in marginal circumstances are ... encouraged to buy then we will find, as the local authorities, that they will not be able to raise a mortgage ... in in in the private sector and we will actually have to ... supply the mortgage ourselves ... so where's the capital receipt gone?
[48] It's disappeared really hasn't it?
[49] Because we we've had to provide [...] mortgage.
[50] So, time and time again, when you actually look at it, when you actually look at this position that we find ourselves in, there isn't an easy receipt to be made that can be used that actually provided what the business is about.
[51] Alright it you wanna call it a business ... the business is about provide social housing to answer housing need in this town.
[52] I don't actually really believe at the end of the day that that is something you that is rightly called business.
[53] It is a service, we are engaged in providing a housing service to answer housing need.
[54] What we ... plead with the government ... all the time ... is allow us a regime, a financial regime, that is reasonable and stable in order to do that.
[55] Let us not be fooled by short termism met by silly schemes that somehow promise an Eldorado which doesn't exist.
[56] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [57] [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [58] Erm, [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [59] Yes Mr Mayor.
[60] I am very intrigued by councillor 's analogy with this counc er count er housing services by this council being a business and the Chancellor of the Exchequer being some kind of ... bank manager.
[61] I mean how many bank managers b ... force their businesses to sell off their fixed assets at a colossal discount for heavens sake.
[62] I mean if this is the way bank managers operate up and down the country no wonder the economy's in a mess.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [63] [laughing] businesses are going bust all the over place.
[64] [] Actually erm ... although councillor is quite correct that we're providing a service, erm ... in some ways it would be nice if the government did give us the freedom to operate our business as we choose to do so.
[65] We would therefore be able to provide a much better service.
[66] ... Now it's perfectly ... now ... the cost er the benefits from sort of marketing right to buy is really very, very dubious erm the government has shown time and again that what it takes then gives with one hand, it takes away with another and the costs are obvious, we are fragmenting our housing stock, we are putting it, we are likely to end up with more and more with a higher proportion of poor properties ... and erm there's also the risk that if we do really have to be promoting right to buy we're going to have people who are probably not sure whether they can afford to buy their house or aren't sure whether they even want to buy their house.
[67] I think they should be treated as adults and allowed to make that decision for themselves.
[68] There's n I doubt if there are any tenants who aren't aware of their right to buy and there's there are in fact plenty of private mortgage lenders around ready to sort erm try and persuade tenants that they can go ahead and buy their homes.
[69] I really don't think there is any point ... to this motion.
[70] Frankly I think from our colleagues in the conservative party shouldn't really be wasting our time here with these silly motions, erm what's needed is if you're gonna improve the housing situation in the city and in the country as a whole, we need to be allowed to use our capital receipts, all the ones we've piled up, and we need to also inject money into the national economy to build new homes and incidentally to get the economy moving again and start bringing down the level of unemployment.
[71] So our colleagues shouldn't be wasting our time, they should be using their own party's internal democracy, there is ... if there is such a thing.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [72] To change the government's ... the [...] policy if that's what ... one calls it, it seems to change from year to year.
[73] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [74] Here, here [clapping]
(PS4TG) [75] [...] chair committee.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [76] Thank you Mr Mayor.
[77] Mr Mayor er I don't want to be long in this debate because I'm sure we've probably all made up our minds exactly what we're going to vote on because [...] long evenings it stretches and turns [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [78] [...] would like to say er er and that is ... though councillor urges us to be more totally ... er [...] which went on the housing committee I think it would be very wrong of us to do that, leaving that er the vote at the end of that particular debate was unrelated to and er these [...] democracy [...] that's [...] er situation.
[79] Erm, I think it's worth saying that er us j just reiterating on what councillor has just said and that is that I think most tenants are very well aware of the right to buy ... and er ... er the motion being unnecessary but what ... happens with the motion is that it ... possibly attracts people who ... really in many ways cannot actually afford to buy er to take advantage of their rights but who might be persuaded by very persuasive tactics to do so.
[80] Now er ... they are then in a situation perhaps often those people who are ... er ... less financially well off and sometimes in jobs which [...] this particular [...] might very well lose tomorrow erm ... their in a difficult situation as far as paying back mortgages is concerned.
[81] It's worth also noting at this point that if you are a tenant and renting and you lose your job you are eligible for housing benefit, erm ... if you ... if you were er buying your house, although you do get some ... er er you get the interest I believe on your mortgage paid, there are lots of other things that do not get paid but the thing is that if you have a reduction in your income which might happen where one partner say lost a job, er ... you s you're eligible for housing benefit but you get nothing as far as company paid mortgage is concerned.
[82] So on that ground I feel ... would be very worried by by promoting the right to buy, erm ... I've said everything I want to I didn't really want to elongate this this er ... this debate and I think it's [...] but I think, I don't believe that Councillor mentioned the the the er the [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [83] [...] We were talking [...] I think this is the thing about clawback, er this year our erm ... receipts taken into account are two point three eight million as opposed to last year er this is taken into account we drew four hundred and seventy five thousand, that's a huge ... jump erm the government by in telling us we can send this er this er ... what I call minuscule carrot erm this year er [...] the capital receipts from November last year until December next year erm ... a anyone had undoubtedly [...] for most of that back in the in in the use er er ... a grant and I think it, as the government have actually kept extremely quiet on this subject, that seemed to be the scenario that seems most likely to happen.
[84] I think our erm [...] .
(PS4TG) [85] [...] all those in favour.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [86] A couple of points I'd like to respond to councillors [...] .
[87] Firstly I have never seen a more clearer ... er grant from the government to actually let you build houses this year, this is whole point ... of th th this should happen and if we don't take it up I believe that in future years to come we shall regret it very, very strongly indeed.
[88] As far as promotion is concerned, yes I will not deny ... every tenant probably knows about the right to buy but then everybody knows there are mars bars and mars bars spend millions of pounds promoting their product.
[89] You have to ... y y y you have to promote the product to make people buy it.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [90] I'm following on from that.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [91] Of course people must be advised carefully but it shows great lack of faith in human na in their abilities and a great arrogance on our part Mr Mayor if we fail to market the ideas simply because we don't feel the populus are competent to understand it.
[92] ... If we fail to take this opportunity Mr Mayor, as I as I feel we are about to do ... I am a hundred percent convinced that in years to come people will look back at this year, or however long it happens to be and say ... they missed out on a golden opportunity to make ... social, to make more houses and to make social housing better in this city and across the country.
[93] I very much hope that you will in fact support the motion as originally intended.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [94] Could I just point out that councillor [...] that contrary to call my bluff, deviation and repetition are no grounds for allowing ... allowing [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [95] All those in favour of the proposals please show ... and all those against.
[96] ... I now turn to the adoption minutes of city hall ... and ... now it is a process of [...] in that city hall did not endorse a recommendation from the finance panel, the budget that came from finance panel erm so we are in the slightly unusual position of having to debate the proposals of finance panel as we were recommended to do by city hall, erm ... that means as I understand it that er the chair of city hall will now present the annual budget statement ... erm and since he is going to do that in a form of an amendment er that [...] seven other unusual features about the way in which we would normally do it which would mean that there would be er a budget statement and where [...] there would then be the the formal proposals and amendments themself, erm so what I would propose is to try and make sure that everybody has, has maximum opportunity to have their say ... erm ... [...] because no two amendments can be on the floor at one time er ... to take what the leader of the council ... said first of all erm ... then to allow the other two leaders ... to present their budget alternatives as it were, without it be, this is just not [...] didn't take it at that point if they don't want to.
[97] But to present the full scenario and then vote er on the the different items ... er so that voting is done on items on the amendment before we then proceed er if you want to we just have to go to amendments to that because of course no two amendments can be on the floor at the same time.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [98] Er, what I would prefer to do is to er listen to the amendment put forward by the [...] as if that were an amendment to the adoption minute ... since there's nothing to be adopted at the moment, erm I will then speak on that amendment, well I would probably speak against it ... erm at that point er there could be a vote on that amendment line by line.
[99] When that vote is finished er there there's then the opportunity for further amendment.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [100] Absolutely.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [101] A a a and that i i if that's sort of what you're saying.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [102] That that that's exactly what I was, I was [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [103] Mr Mayor on ... on a point of order Mr Mayor er standing order sixty two refers explicitly to community charge or the poll tax, I think that before we ... move into this debate we should amend that so that it does refer to the council tax which is what we will be debating.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [104] [...] to my left has anything to say on the subject.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [105] My only slight reservation is whether it's possible to have,t t to move an amendment to standing order [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [106] Can, can we take that as being unanimous?
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [107] Yes.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [108] Good, good.
[109] Thank you very much.
[110] Leader of the councils.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [111] We have known for ... a number of years that we ... with every other council in the land, are facing the government that [...] does not believe in local government.
[112] That believes that local councils should operate [...] services, should do it at the dictate of the department of the environment and indeed it's regrettable that we are surrounded by some local authorities who feel that their world is precisely that.
[113] Far be it for me to mention Huntingdon district council but that is one which
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [114] immediately leaps to mind.
[115] The fact that their citizens leak into the city to avail themselves of our facilities is something that we might deal with in another sphere, even on day [...] residents were seen to attend the theatre in this town recently, erm unfortunately this authority doesn't see fit to actually subsidise the theatre.
[116] However, ... it is ... that means that over the last few years every time we have actually debated about budget we recognised that the force had unwillingly and against the judgement of the majority of this council, not necessarily er bounded by political affiliation, we have to be getting down further and further towards ... the completely inaccurate expanded spending assessment that is assessed as necessary for the needs of this city by the department of the environment.
[117] Now clearly ... this is a process that is going to continue ... this year.
[118] We had originally intended ... to freeze our budget at precisely the level that it has been at the last two years ... for a variety of reasons we have decided that it is sensible to actually bring it down yet further.
[119] There are two reasons for this.
[120] Firstly the process of moving down towards our S S A ... needs to be facilitated because my own instinct is that the government, faced with all sorts of financial tribulations, is going to take a harder and harder nosed attitude towards local government expenditure, as it will unfortunately with an awful lot of the rest ... of what we have come to expect over the decades to be the responsibility of central government, clearly the current expenditure review is going to have some nasty shocks in it for consumers of account services, consumers of other assets of the welfare state but particularly I would suspect, the local government.
[121] Additionally however, we need to make it clear ... that when we have looked at the figures and I would pay some [...] to the opposition for bringing er some matters to our attention, erm and looking at the way in which very, very careful [...] on the part of this council has led to a better reserve position than we would previously have expected.
[122] There is a sense of which that good housekeeping with the inevitable consequences of government policy can be, can be [...] in terms if you like, or benefits to the council tax payers, who have after all in a [...] under the complete disaster of the poll tax which nobody but nobody in this chamber I suspect knew more unless there is at least one partisan tory who will try to save it, it was really a wonderful experiment and it's a shame it didn't continue.
[123] On that basis we have an amendment to the budget ... as presented to the finance panel and as the Mayor explained [...] .
[124] ... If I can talk immediately to ... scope of that amendment before moving on to some points about the budget [...] .
[125] ... With regard to the first [...] lies ... my group has come to the conclusion that there is a way in which the employment development budget can be augmented to specifically reserve at least the part of the current posish provision provided by the cooperative development [...] erm we stand by our opinion that there are ways in which that service can be more efficiently administered [...] that this is a sensible way forward.
[126] With regard to the contingency ... contingency is something which has often been a matter of debate within this council.
[127] It has been a matter of debate because there are those in the council who feel ... that if you put in a contingency provision it will be spent whether it's needed or not.
[128] There are many of us who feel that it is sheer wilfulness if one assumes that there will be no contingency in the course of the year that needs to be [...] budget [...] .
[129] This year might represent a compromise with regard to the those two opposition positions which again I would suggest are something that perhaps owes more to [...] than it does to actual political affiliation.
[130] The [...] regard to the job evaluation budget suggests that our original figure of a hundred thousand pounds is not fully necessary and that can all be reduced to fifty percent, to fifty percent or the equivalent say to fifty thousand pounds and the same goes for the judgement with regard to how you are going to have [...] figure with regard to jobs ... vacancies.
[131] That will bring the eventual budget down [...] a fine tune [...] particularly with regard to er recommendations of the housing committee with regard er to the [...] erm which clearly there will be [...] some people.
[132] ... What we have done is to suggest that we actually need a lower budget than we had originally assessed.
[133] This is in line with the obvious policy, not just of the ruling group, but I suspect of the council as a whole that we know that sooner or later courtesy of this government, whether we like it or not we are going to have to get down to our standard spending assessment.
[134] The policy of this council over the last couple of years has been to get down to that figure enforced upon us as gracefully as possible with the least damage to our services and the least damage to the morale of our staff and our staff are after all the most important asset that a local authority possesses and that is what we're trying to consider.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [135] Everybody will be aware of the fact that in the course of the last two budgetary years we have made savings in excess of what we had anticipated.
[136] Those savings have been achieved by [...] very careful housekeeping indeed.
[137] By a rigid look at vacancies, by the constant search after efficiency, efficiency savings.
[138] By looking hard at any way in which we can raise extra income for this authority.
[139] A classic example of good housekeeping which has made Cambridge a [...] authority in the region and beyond and one that even members of the conservative government have occasionally, through gritted teeth [...] they're not doing a bad job, damn them ... and that ... means that the [...] are going to think to have some of those, if you like, very good housekeeping back to the citizens who have been paying the bills over the years.
[140] For instance to this is an assumption that although we are going to have a shortfall on the collection fund, again because of good housekeeping we believe that this action is what people want by the charge payers of the city and again that in this financial year it can be taken out of the [...] .
[141] This seems to me to be a highly [...] , high responsible budget bringing us closer and closer to a position where [...] we will eventually reach.
[142] We are spending now, if this budget is accepted, a mere eleven percent of the standard spending assessment levels which means that in time we are going to get down to where the government is going to demand that we [...] .
[143] We may not want it but the government is going to demand it and we ... as custodians of the services on the part of the people of Cambridge, are going to have to do as sensibly and sensitively as possible.
[144] There are some more points I've got to make about the budget in general.
[145] The first thing is that I think people need to recognise that the investigation of savings generated a figure of one point four million pounds.
[146] That is an extraordinary amount of money to find in terms of savings.
[147] It's not ... a figure that represents gross inefficiencies, gross over expenditure.
[148] What it represents I would suggest, is the desperate attempt to trim off the margin to find every single last way ... in which we can follow the government diktat whilst preserving our full services.
[149] But I do think that we need to recognise this on council ... that there is a cost associated with that one point four million pounds worth of savings ... and those costs come in two different directions.
[150] One cost is that clearly some services are being cut in terms of how good they are.
[151] We need to recognise that some letters will take longer to answer ... that public loos will not be as fully attended as they have been in the past.
[152] That some community events will not take place.
[153] That some ... voluntary organisations will not get the grants that they previously expected.
[154] All of these trims at the margins ... which I would suggest, detract from the quality of life of people in this city, something that we regret, but something which can and has been enforced upon us.
[155] We're trying to [...] the horrors of central government diktat are all closing upon this city.
[156] But there is a cost of that and it's a cost that people will recognise.
[157] They will recognise it too in terms of higher charges than perhaps ideally we would want to impose for certain services which the city operates, whether it be sports pitches or whether ... to be brutal, it's the cost of actually burying the dead.
[158] Perhaps those are things that in the best of all possible worlds we wouldn't want to [...] but we are forced so to do.
[159] But there's another cost to the savings that have been exemplified and that we are going to be forced to take with regard to this budget ... and that is something that anybody who uses the city council services, and particularly I would suggest councillors, are going to notice and that is the stress that we are putting on the people that we employ.
[160] It is all very well to say to any people organisation you shall become more and more efficient.
[161] In the end there has to be a limit, there has to be a level beyond which you cannot go ... without people cracking under the strain, without people saying I'm now doing the job that was done by two people, two and half people a few years ago.
[162] It doesn't mean that you don't look for efficiencies but it does mean that we need to recognise that we are putting a burden on our staff which I think we will be callous and stupid to disregard.
[163] I [...] that in terms of many ... of the so called efficiency measures that we could take, we are reaching the absolute limits in this authority.
[164] There are areas, one or two of which I will go on to elude to, which I still think are actually going to ... make for the greatest savings in the coming financial year and thereafter.
[165] But in terms of saying there are easy savings to be found in terms of greater efficiencies in this authority I warn you, we are reaching the level unless we actually want in putting a completely unacceptable level of stress on the people who we employ and who universally serve this city very finely and give such a very high level of service.
[166] I know that there are views among the opposition groups about what should be cut out of this budget.
[167] We have decided that the fundamental points as far as the [...] is concerned is the presentation of services.
[168] Wherever we have looked for savings, we have looked to trimming away at the centre and preserving those services that are delivered to the citizens in a direct way.
[169] Some of them ... and we make no bones about this, are delivered undoubtedly to minorities, they're delivered to small groups of people in the city, to people who are in any care in the community need to be given special consideration.
[170] If we house them [...] we need to look after all the people, we make no apologies for the fact that this is a budget slanted towards equal opportunities and to an anti-poverty strategy and that is something that we will fight to preserve and we would expect support from at least some quarters in order to achieve an egalitarian status in this city.
[171] The same is true of some of the bids, we've allowed more bids this year than perhaps it was the case in the past.
[172] The bids that we have [...] wording of support.
[173] We want to do ... something for the voluntary sector.
[174] Fifty thousand pounds extra for the voluntary sector at a time when a recession, when so called but completely un [...] care in the community is putting a tremendous burden of responsibility both on the voluntary sector and on ... we know what a good job the voluntary sector do in this city [...] thousand pounds is a small proportion of the money that they are actually requesting from us.
[175] It's in a place in the direction of the work that they do, it is not enough, we would like to provide more.
[176] But ill betide anyone ... who says, says that that is money that's not going to be [...] .
[177] Pollution, the environment, again that is something which is not just for [...] concern, we know it's of global concern as well.
[178] We have some responsibilities in that direction.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [cough]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [179] Yes we have to operate within our resources, but if we're looking to er how [...] recycling that seems to us [...] a bid which is worthy of backing regardless of political affiliation.
[180] If you listen to any national politician they pay [...] to the importance of environmental concerns and [...] to actually say that that's a bid that can't be approved.
[181] Putting more money into the taxi part scheme, a scheme that is anything but everybody in the surrounding authorities, how many of us have had letters from the residents of Gerton or Promberton or wherever else ... complaining that they want to be included in this scheme.
[182] Something that provides a life line, mobility for people who otherwise would find that they were being seriously disadvantaged, that their lives would not be as full as [...] .
[183] Each and every one of the bids ... however they refer to particular minority groups, whether they refer to the group [...] are I think, justifiable.
[184] They're justifiable because we're doing within very tight financial constraints.
[185] This is a very responsible budget indeed.
[186] It brings down our level of expenditure.
[187] It leaves no [...] fortune ... with regard to what the department of the environment might throw at us next year unless they completely lose their marbles, which after all is always possible.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [188] Which I suspect the odd tory MP having a heart attack, falling under a bus, the loss of directions might actually mean that they might see a degree of sense in borough capping [...] .
[189] It leaves few hostages to fortune with regard to the department of the environment.
[190] We after all, bring our expenditure down, we're down near two million pounds under new cap capping rules.
[191] That is not under any circumstances [...] responsible judging.
[192] It is also the budget that has taken notice ... of what the opposition have actually said ... we listened to you ... we have not persevered with our original thinking, we've talked to the officers, we've listened to what you've said, we may not have done it ... with the greatest grace possible but [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [193] Comes very much as difficult to grace but ... erm and we have brought our expectations down.
[194] But the budget in general is one that we withstand.
[195] We think that it conserves services, that it has searched out the vast majority of efficiencies that we can find within this council and that it doesn't pass on ... to ... the poll tax, council tax payers the fruits, I mean it does pass on the poll tax or council tax payers the fruits of how we have achieved savings and efficiencies over the last couple of years.
[196] We've done well ... it's time that that was actually passed on [...] .
[197] There are further areas which in time [...] year will allow that trend to continue, I'm aware of the fact ... that there will probably be [...] in the course of the evening that suggest that greater efficiencies can be found in a variety of areas whether it be in [...] or wherever else.
[198] We have our own ideas about that.
[199] We have gone out with regard to our team through voluntary competitive tender.
[200] That is designed to save money for this authority.
[201] We are looking seriously at the costs of such in-house items as car leasing.
[202] We've continued to keep a very hard view of the corn exchange and a number of other bodies which we fund, but we're going to see what actually happens, we're not going to make blind predictions ... about savings without actually going into the facts.
[203] If we make further savings in the course of the next financial year the benefit will be felt by the citizens of Cambridge and it's no good promising them things which we can't deliver.
[204] This is a budget ... that promises what it will deliver.
[205] That bears the fruits of past, sound financial management, preserved services and looks for as many efficiencies as possible.
[206] Far be it for me to say that this is the sort of budget ... that conservatives ought to applaud because it is after all, a budget that is guided by a feeling ... that councils should provide services and they should orientate their services to the least [...] communities, to be guided by equal opportunities and by [...] egalitarians and that's what this group has always stood for, this is the budget that we present tonight and I would hope that it would get a far better and far larger measure of support than perhaps of course been the case in the past.
(PS4TG) [207] Is there a second?
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [208] Yes.
(PS4TG) [209] Is there anybody else [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS4TG) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [210] Thank you Mr Mayor, erm well this may be a budget the conservative might applaud but I'm [...] .
[211] ... Yes, ... one wonders how [...] get actually.
[212] David Owen might be buying membership soon.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [213] But seriously I'm against this budget because of what is, what it doesn't contain rather than what it does contain.
[214] [...] the policies that it represents, still represents ... even as amendment.
[215] Repeat [...] this evening.
[216] That labour's budget doesn't ... do anything new to meet those challenges.
[217] Education cuts.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [moan]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [218] Interesting the party supposedly in favour of education groans when education is mentioned.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [219] Interesting to to speculate and I'll do this a little later on, ask them why the labour party's so obsessed with opposing education [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [moan]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [220] There's also pollution ... the environment, [...] the council mentioned those, there's nothing new in this budget.
[221] Nothing new about the lack of public transport in Cambridge.
[222] ... And about the biggest problem today, that of unemployment ... what we have is nine thousand pounds put back into the ... the employment development fund.
[223] Still leaving [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [224] What we have is nine thousand pounds put back into the ... employment development fund ... still leaving a cut.
[225] ... This is no time to cut anything from the employment development fund, from the training budget, even sixteen thousand pounds.
[226] ... So the [...] fails to meet all these challenges.
[227] Make no apologise ds ds to starting with education, the county council is ... cutting seven million pounds from education [...] this year.
[228] A dozen or more teachers ... in city schools ... may lose their jobs, maybe more.
[229] More than half the city's schools are faced with real cuts in their budgets.
[230] County talks [...] about putting a million pounds back in and it turns out that this million pound in fact is part of a two million pound cut that appears to have been made.
[231] It's all a mistake of calculation ... from when the government nationalised further education.
[232] The city could act, the city could do something about it ... but it won't.
[233] The ruling group, the labour party, refuses to do anything about this at all.
[234] I don't want to hear any more nonsense about ... doing the county council's job because the city already does lots of things for the county council [...] ... concessionary fares for the elderly for example.
[235] On the city board last week we had yet another example ... rather a good project ... Trumpington disability [...] project, very likely ... but it's social services budget.
[236] ... And a question you have to ask yourself is why the labour party is prepared to spend on all the aspects of county council responsibility except education.
[237] Why is this?
[238] Why does the labour party seem to [...] education?
[239] The one thing it will not, it will not spend money on.
[240] Education is important to everyone, it's not a m a minority group, it's important to individuals for their own self fulfilment, it's important for society for our economic future and our future as a democracy.
[241] So why the opposition and after all this ... time, eighteen months of debate.
[242] And [...] from the labour party, reason after reason, feeble reason after reason .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [243] After all this time ... reason and reason's been knocked down, one after the other and what did we get last time?
[244] We got votes against our proposals with no reasons given at all, you've now got down to the point of having no reasons at all for opposing what we want to do.
[245] So what is ... why is it that labour party oppose education spend?
[246] So I think we're getting rather strange signals out of tonight's budget, on the one hand ... we have councillor ... the John Smith clone, although at least put a bit of weight on.
[247] On the other hand ...
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [248] We seem to have a labour party that treats education as some kind of middle class hobby ... that thinks of education spending as something spent only on the bourgeoisie, something to do with a university, something not really important for ordinary people.
[249] If that's not the reason, what is the reason?
[250] ... And one suspects it might be back in the ... days of the nineteen fifties, nineteen sixties ... when the labour party opposed anything ... at local level, [...] of course, but at local level ... that might tend towards helping people to be upwardly mobile ... on the grounds that upwardly mobile people stop voting labour.
[251] ... I don't want to go to the story as to why the labour party [...] opposed the er ... th the entry to the city of Marks and Spencer but it's an interest [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [252] They didn't want working people to have decent clothes [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh] [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [253] I really do hope the labour party is stuck in some kind of thirties plan ... I'm afraid I've got my doubts.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh] [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [254] Will you stop laughing.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [255] [...] the circumstances I wonder how well this is to the current debate as opposed to amendments which I suspect will be moved later on.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [256] I'll give my reasons for voting against this budget.
[257] It's got no education spending.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [258] I I I think that councillor should be allowed to continue.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [259] [...] because er he's just one person who remembers those years.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [260] Ooh.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [261] There are other grounds remaining for opposing this budget.
[262] ... It still hasn't tackled all the waste there is in the council, we'll get back to that when we [...] amendment.
[263] It still hasn't done anything new, has no new ideas about traffic and environmental problems.
[264] And of course it's a budget which is [...] on an attitude towards the Parkside Pool problem which we disagree with ... therefore in no way do we support it.
[265] But there are many reasons, as you will see when we put our amendment ... asking why are budget proposals are different ... from the ruling groups but the main reasons are simply the ruling group's refusal, for whatever reason, I just wanna hear the reasons.
[266] [...] ... to do anything about the major problems facing the city.
(PS4TG) [267] Councillor [...] .
Evans (PS4TH) [268] Yes I would like also to speak against this amendment erm but for completely different reasons.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Evans (PS4TH) [269] [...] I don't intend to give the council a [...] to solving the world's problems and that's not the word [...] to mind but ... problems.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [270] [laugh] [...] .
Evans (PS4TH) [271] Because I do recognise Mr Mayor er I have to say, that this amendment is a step in the right direction.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Evans (PS4TH) [272] But I ... believe that the councillor er is somewhat cynical in the what that he has put this forward.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Evans (PS4TH) [273] Tories producing rabbits out of hats is the big bad headline, wasn't it.
[274] You know we're the ones accused of doing these things at the last moment.
[275] We're the ones who ... you know, don't tell anybody what our strategy is going to be, we suddenly spring it on the members right at the end of the process at the council meeting.
[276] We're not running the council ... the labour group are running the council er but they on this occasion Mr Mayor, are the ones producing the rabbits out of the hats.
[277] And I'll congratulate the leader of the council ... on a wonderful conjuring act with this amendment.
[278] I asked ... at the meeting of the city board and I asked on more than one occasion, and didn't get a proper answer, what the labour group intended to do with the three point two million pounds that will build up in reserve say for the next three years.
[279] I made it clear ... that our policy was to use that money to reduce the level of the council tax over that period of time.
[280] I couldn't get any clear commitment er from er you Mr Mayor, or the leader of the council as to what [...] would do with that three point two million pounds.
[281] I also pressed at the city board for something to be done about this problem of the ... er people disappearing off the poll tax register ... at an alarming rate I must add.
[282] And I was absolutely amazed and I think ... all of us on the opposition benches were absolutely amazed ... at the city board that you appeared to have no proposals whatsoever to do anything about that situation.
[283] ... I find ... found that absolutely incredible and I thought it was bizarre to say the least, the procedure we had to go through the other er evening erm with two hours of acrimonious debate er a break while you consulted er the officers before we got to some er sensible way forward which is now incorporated in this amendment er to spend a hundred thousand pounds on actually trying to trace [...] .
[284] But ... spending that hundred thousand pounds as we were told at the time, would only part solve the problem.
[285] The potential deficit ... on the poll tax collection fund er because of these people not registering is well over million pounds and that by spending the hundred thousand proposed here, would actually bring it down to seven hundred and thirty five thousand pounds and that's where the conjuring trick is er this er amendment because of course, if you work out ... the increase in the balances that you are proposing to take in this amendment, it works out exactly to seven hundred and thirty five thousand pounds, well it does on my calculations ... Mr Mayor.
[286] Exactly seven hundred and thirty five thousand pounds.
[287] So you're doing exactly what we were telling you to do ... a few weeks ago, that you had to er take money out of reserves or you had to cut down ... on the level of services if you were to avoid putting that thirty four pounds on the council tax bills this year.
[288] And you very cleverly, very cleverly and I, this is where I congratulate you, built this in to your proposals tonight.
[289] ... There are some things in this that obviously we can support, the delete or reduction in the contingency pros p provision to a hundred thousand pounds, we're going to be moving later on to delete even that amount but it's surprising ... you were telling us ... you've been telling us for years you have to have two hundred thousand pounds in the contingency.
[290] All of a sudden in a matter of two weeks, you can take a hundred thousand pounds out of it.
[291] ... We welcome the reduction in the job evaluation budget to fifty thousand pounds.
[292] The officers told us er some time ago that that could be done quite easily.
[293] If the officers could tell us that why didn't they tell the controlling labour group, I'm sure they did and then the question is why didn't you listen to them.
[294] Why then did you put over a hundred thousand pounds in that budget in the first place?
[295] I welcome that particular proposal.
[296] You questioned Mr Mayor at the city board when I put forward the proposal to increase ... the er turnover figure from three percent to four percent.
[297] You said, explain that councillor Evans, tell us how you're going to do it.
[298] ... Well perhaps you or somebody on the other side might care to tell us how you're gonna take it from three to three and half, cos I'll quite happily tell you then how we'll take it from three and half to four percent, so we welcome that as a step in the right direction.
[299] ... Obviously as I say, we would support the additional bid of a hundred thousand for pursuing the poll tax er non-registers.
[300] ... And obviously we would want to take money out of reserves, our original amendment took one point three million pounds out of reserves and it's interesting to see now that you're suggesting almost that figure again and yet for years you've been telling us you can't take this money out of the reserves, er you know we had to keep it for a rainy day.
[301] Do we take it that the rainy day has finally arrived?
[302] I think it has.
[303] ... But this does not go far enough for us ... and er shortly we will be moving another amendment which will take the council's budget down to the standard spending assessment and I will speak to ... that er when I come to move that amendment.
[304] No ... the standard spe spending assessment.
[305] ... Could I, just before I sit down, say one thing er why I disagree er with councillor .
[306] I think the liberal democrats are gonna find themselves rather strangely isolated here this evening, proposing the highest budget.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Evans (PS4TH) [307] Ah well we will wait and see ... erm, they're trying to solve everybody's problems but ours, er with all this talk about spending money on education, sorting out the traffic problems ... erm, it's a pity they don't spend a bit more time in their budget calculations in dealing with the problems of this council and not those of the county council.
[308] So Mr Mayor, for completely different reasons than the council have er I will be urging my group to vote against this amendment and to support a subsequent amendment which will take the budget down even further.
[309] Thank you.
(PS4TG) [310] Councillor [...] wishes to speak.
Hilliard (PS4TF) [311] Thank you Mr Mayor I just wanted t to come in with two fairly quick points er as to why I will not be able to support this amendment, but the first is that the leader of the council has indicated that the efficiency savings ... erm has ... got as far as it can go and that, you know, we have been trimming at the margins and there is no more margin left and that leads you to believe that perhaps one should be looking at somewhat more er root and branch type of pruning in the spending that that the labour group want to actually erm deal with, er and the second point I would like to make, and ... er I thank councillor for giving us a a a a new word tonight obfuscation because that describes exactly what I think the labour group are trying to do by bringing this figure down it removes the embarrassment they would have from having to add on a substantial sum of money f due to the failure to collect the cou er the community charge in previous years and I think that they are trying by by this amendment with some ... very quick foot work to try and delude the people of this city.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [312] Mr Mayor, councillor says that the labour group is running the council, that's manifestly not the case.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [313] The conservative group is running the council.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [314] And the conservative group is running the council in the sense that labour has scrambled, obviously over the last few days, to reduce its ... tax level to something closer to the tories ... and I'm going to stand with my fellow liberal democrats tonight and vote for a higher figure ... because, not only because I think that there's sort of things we want to do in our budget, are b are b are better and and would be better done than not done, but because I think there's a fundamental political ethical issue here ... and it's one which has been confronting this country for a great many years and which is going to be crucial in the next election.
[315] The question is, do the people of Britain ... believe in paying higher taxes for good services delivered by central and local government?
[316] I thought that progressives, political progressives in this country were prepared to stand ... by public services and believe in them sufficiently to say this will cost you and we are prepared to to put the bill to you because we believe you will ... pay the bill.
[317] What we have tonight is a labour group that says they no longer believe in that philosophy.
[318] What they believe in is that everybody out there is out to grab as much as they can for their own private interest and they're prepared to meet them halfway on that.
[319] There's no question who's running the council here, it's this lot.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] [laugh] [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [320] Reference to I think that last comment is of course a very interesting one [...] .
[321] I thought the liberal democrats failed abysmally at that the last election.
[322] Can you say [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [323] Mr Ashdown may have all the qualities of leadership except [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh] [clapping]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [324] And I suspect that the next election that will still prevail.
[325] But clearly the liberal democrats have not learnt the lesson ... of spending what you have and running prudent budgets.
[326] Even ... president Clinton is learning that, even as a democrat he had a reputation of fiscal responsibility as a government, but I must admit I welcomed his present er proposals in that regard.
[327] But that doesn't follow for the liberal democrats in this particular council.
[328] I don't think their proposals in that regard will be worthy of support.
[329] Er, but councillor other remark about the labour party moving towards the conservatives is of course a very fair one, but then surely nothing surprises us at the moment about the labour party.
[330] At long last they've come out in favour of wealth, isn't that extraordinary, reported in today's paper.
[331] They're also, Mr Mayor, interestingly coming out in favour of the individual but I must admit I applaud that ... and at long last in some, admittedly very modest way, er they are moving, I won't say to fiscal responsibility, but at least they're learning the lessons of the recklessness of the past of their policies.
[332] But what we have to bear in mind of course er the f financial propriety of this council would in a sense have been very easy over the years if the labour party previously had trimmed its budget according to what we could all afford.
[333] That they did not do and now the leader of the council [...] said well they're trying to get down to the standard spending assessment at last, he could have done that a long time ago, you have had nothing but excess expenditure proposals on behalf of this city for many, many years.
[334] If we are above government guidelines it is the labour party's fault and if indeed we are penalised in the future ... it is the labour party's fault, none other and to the extent that you run the risk now by having this excess eleven percent budget over the er standing expenditure assessment er will once again unfortunately find you guilty in that regard.
[335] What I did find very distressing in his remarks, er were basically in respect of some of the savings [...] .
[336] Again I must say ... it seems extraordinary doesn't it that er he pontificates the savings when really one is entitled to ask the question well why weren't they made before?
[337] I really can't think that you can claim those as savings.
[338] They're a pulling back of your excess expenditure.
[339] They are if you like a correctness of mismanagement.
[340] It can't be anything else, formal savings is not on ... and I think when you [...] small items ... I was rather distressed by some of them.
[341] I think we're going to go as a council in the direction of not answering letters on time.
[342] In business that cost is one of the first items you do in efficiency terms.
[343] If you delay the answering of letters, of course that creates more letters chasing up the first ones and that is again where you are getting your priorities wrong, admittedly on a very small items.
[344] For the leader of the council to use the excuse in terms of savings about the cost of the burning of the dead.
[345] I think most of us have due respect and regard for proper procedure in that regard.
[346] One of the most emotional times for anyone.
[347] For you to downgrade that and say well I'm sorry now we're doing all this, we can't guarantee that, it's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [348] What I actually said was that the price that we would have to charge for burying the dead [...] had to go up ... in order to ensure that in [...] of the circumstances our standards could remain impeccable.
[349] That I regard as unfortunate [...] .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [350] I'm very glad you clarified that Mr [...] ... because certainly I ... not as I heard it er and I'm very pleased that was clarified and I think others would have felt likewise.
[351] Let me come on, let me come on then to a more disgraceful excuse er that er the leader of the council talked about.
[352] He talked about the stress on the people we employ.
[353] Most of us who've been on this council some years will have seen the stress that the labour party brought on a number of senior officers who felt obliged to leave in what I would call distressing circumstances.
[354] That was the pressure of the labour party policy ... and if there is any stress on staff in this council then it is at your responsibility.
[355] You are running this council and it up to you to ensure that you do not create employ because if that is what you're admitting to you're
(PS4TG) [356] Councillor you've had over your time
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [357] Thank you very much well I've been very pleased to make those points relating to the leader of the council.
(PS4TG) [358] Since there are no further hands rushing up into the air I'll ... say a few words myself.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...] [laugh]
(PS4TG) [359] Asking [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [360] I think [...] the proposals [...] the labour group's [...] .
[361] It's important that we look at the pattern of our spending as a local authority over the past five or six years.
[362] But ... [...] that in some of the comments that have gone before.
[363] In those days the government assessed local authority needs according to a very [...] in the grant related expenditure assessment, G R E A, greas ... and this is much more complex and sensitive measure of how much it costs to run a city and in those days what the government thought we should be spending and what we thought we should be spending seemed in fact to be very close indeed.
[364] In nineteen eighty seven, eighty eight, we spent ninety nine point eight eight percent of what the government thought [...] .
[365] In nineteen eighty eight and eighty nine we spent ninety eight point two nine percent and in eighty nine ninety, ninety seven point one four percent of what the government thought we need ... we actually underspent in their terms.
[366] This was still a labour council, they were still a conservative government but there was a wonderful consensus [...] about the spending needs of local authorities and how local authorities should be funded.
[367] That was what one might call a pre-poll tax consensus.
[368] In nineteen ninety one the S S A was introduced as the measure for assessing local authority needs and in that year our spending, instead of being one or two percent below what the government thought, it shot up to forty nine point nine five percent above the S S A figures.
[369] What had happened?
[370] ... Had labour suddenly become a [...] local authority, or did the S S A simply fail as an accurate way of assessing our spending needs?
[371] The answer I think, lies in the fact that the government next year gave this authority an increase in its S S A of some thirty two point one percent, one of the largest increases in the country.
[372] Not quite enough perhaps but still enough to be an admission that they got it seriously wrong in the year before.
[373] Since that point though ... what has been the pattern of our budgets?
[374] Have we kicked against the [...] and ignored the determination of central government to bolster their own problems with the P S B I by reducing local authority spending?
[375] No, from that figure of forty nine point nine five percent above S S A in nineteen ninety one we proposed a budge that had brought reductions year on year in that divergence of view.
[376] Each and every year there have been reductions.
[377] In nineteen ninety one the gap narrowed to thirty one percent from almost fifty nine.
[378] In ninety two, three it narrowed further to twenty two percent and this year we're proposing a budget that is only ten point eight percent adverse to the government's figures.
[379] We don't believe that the government is correct in their view of what the city needs.
[380] But we've not wilfully put at risk services or jobs by risking capping ... by going in the opposite direction.
[381] ... Equally we've tried not to traumatise the public or our staff by cutting back to the governments preferred level all at once.
[382] Our view is that the people of this city value the services the council provides ... and don't want them withdrawn.
[383] Ours has been a process of careful pruning year on year.
[384] It's not been without pain ... and I pay tribute to our staff's willingness to embrace the changes that we've had to make.
[385] In particular I think it should be recognised that the role of the unions, NALGO and G M D in helping that process of change has been quite fundamental and for that reason, because we appreciate and value the essential way in which the unions have contributed to the process of changing the organisation ... I consider that the they much trailed proposals from the opposition groups to cut, or in the other case, to reduce the NALGO office ... are quite misguided [...] .
[386] I want to return however to the question of the pattern of taxation in the authority under labour control.
[387] It's of course only to be expected that people should moan about the tax they've got to pay and people always complain that it seems to go up every year.
[388] Well let me say quite clearly now, that is not true.
[389] Both as a percentage of budget and in real terms accounting for inflation, people are being ... asked to pay less today than they were in nineteen eighty eight.
[390] In eighty eight, eighty nine the rates, business and domestic, amounted to eighty one point seven percent of all the council's spending.
[391] ... The government contributed just eighteen point two percent so the bulk of our expenditure was born by local people directly.
[392] Today we're asking local people to pay only fifty seven percent instead of eight two.
[393] But politicians always speak ... in terms of percentages and [...] real terms so let's look at the total tax which was demanded from people in the city in the past few years.
[394] In nineteen ninety, ninety one we asked for six point four seven four million in poll tax.
[395] In ninety one ninety two, five point four.
[396] In ninety two, three by point six seven and in the budget we propose tonight we've asked for four point five five million.
[397] No [...] no allowing for inflations, no underlying trends ... under the labour proposals ... people in Cambridge will be paying less hard cash now than they did eight years ago.
[398] The council is spending prudently and efficiently ... and it's spending as little hard cash as is compatible with meeting the essential needs of the people who live in the city.
[399] ... I'm told I've got to wind up [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh] [clapping]
(PS4TG) [400] I have the discretion to give myself up.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [laugh]
(PS4TG) [401] But you'll be relieved to know I'm not going [...] .
[402] ... In that case Councillor has [...] .
[403] Can we move to the vote then please ... on ... the amendment before us [...] I proposed to take it.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [404] As point of order I believe as this is a proposal of an amendment of the city board [...] city board is the city board chair's right of reply.
(PS4TG) [405] Do you wish to exercise your right to reply?
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [406] Very, very briefly indeed erm I would stand by ... what I said in my overall [...] speech.
[407] I do think that the [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [408] Erm, it doesn't matter what I propose, whether it actually makes out things that they've been talking about or whether it's completely [...] found something to criticise about it.
[409] That's politics.
[410] What we've actually got here is a judicious budget proposal which yes, has changed over the last ... fortnight, I make no apologies for that.
[411] It also has to hinder to recognition of what the needs of the people of the city are ... and I [...] actually cast out, wipe out services and the needs of central administration which is essential to any council and I would hope that not only my own [...] back this amendment.
[412] Thank you.
(PS4TG) [413] Can I ask us to to move the [...] amendment ... erm ... in ... one A ... those in favour of that part of the amendment please show ... one A.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [414] What are we voting on?
(PS4TG) [...]
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [415] [...] from the housing committee and nine thousand pounds from the environment committee were [...] the following additional savings.
[416] Roman numeral one, those in favour please show.
[417] ... Those against please show.
[418] ... Roman numeral two please show in favour ...
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [419] Thirty two.
(PS4TG) [420] And those against ... roman numeral three, those in favour please ... and those against ... right.
[421] In B add at the end roman numeral one, those in favour please show ... .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [422] Thirty one Mr Mayor.
(PS4TG) [423] And those against ... roman numeral two those in favour ... and those against ... roman numeral three those in favour ... and those against ... amendment D to read ... [...] one two to eight O O nine please [...] in that budget to thirty six three eight nine fifty, those in favour.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [424] Thirty two.
(PS4TG) [425] And those against.
[426] ... In three alter the amounts calculated to read as follows, I hope that we can take that block in three as one since it all follows from what's gone before.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [427] Yes we have erm those in favour ... thank you, and those against ... okay thank you.
[428] ... Are there further amendments?
[429] Thank you councillor .
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [430] Okay councillor can you ... proceed?
Howarth (PS4TJ) [431] Does everyone have a copy of this one ... good ... er ... Mr Mayor erm ... all budgets are a balance between er spending on database services and spending on ... capital projects and on keeping taxes down.
[432] All three elements have to come in to any budget decision and nobody can ignore all three, indeed if you look around ... three groups of the council you'll see that all the budget proposed tonight will take into account all three areas.
[433] ... Conservative budget for example even though its main press is always on keeping the tax level down ... er will often include capital projects.
[434] For example they support the market square project ... and at the end of the day even with the total budget down to S S A the vast bulk of the money being spent by conservative budget's been spent on people salaries but it's still being spent on services ... and the labour party [...] this year ... has lost ... [...] the three elements [...] keeping the tax down ... and that's quite a good thing to see.
[435] Though I should say that ... [...] what councillor said that my group were prepared to set a higher tax level if that were necessary.
[436] That's what we said at the general election.
[437] ... By my judgement as the amendment reflects ... is that it isn't necessary ... but if it were I would have no hesitation s whatsoever in increasing the level of taxation to pay for what needs to be paid for.
[438] It needs to be understood that what divides the parties isn't so much ... that one party believes in capital projects, on party in revenue spending and one party in keeping the taxation levels down.
[439] What divides them is solely ... [...] of judgements on the bounds between those three elements.
[440] I should say that for us ... revenue services, ordinary database services do come first ... keeping the tax level does come second ... and the prestige projects, even rather good ones like the market square project ... definitely come third.
[441] ... It's not to say that we are ... against capital projects, we are not.
[442] ... We have included in our proposal this year ... twenty thousand revenue effects of a hundred thousand pounds capital bid ... on traffic calming and other similar measures, something which is very popular around the city, as long as you ask people what they want first ... and which in previous years we put forward as a revenue bid.
[443] We decided the best way to deal with that question is through a capital bid and that's what we've done.
[444] And also of course there is the question of Parkside Pool ... although observant members of the council will notice that Parkside Pool isn't mentioned in our amendment.
[445] That is because, fortunately I suppose, ... our Parkside modernisation scheme ... we are reliable informed by officers, would have no revenue effects in ninety three, ninety four.
[446] It would have revenue effect of course in ninety four, ninety five and our future budget will have to reflect that.
[447] ... But in this year ... the first year of the project, because it will be towards the end of the year anyway it has no revenue, net revenue effect.
[448] [...] the basic day to day problems ... that we want to concentrate on ... and on the challenges it faces.
[449] ... Education fund is in there ... we've not raised the price but that is our top priority and we believe it's societies top priority ... also in our amendment is our idea for extending concessionary bus fares for journeys within the city to those of school age ... who do not quality for the statutory schemes run by the county.
[450] The idea there is to try to get some reduction, some reduction ... in the level of traffic at peak hours ... and to help public transport.
[451] And of course in a scheme like that many details have to be worked out especially in negotiations with the bus company for the figure we have put in is I think a realistic figure for the first year of the scheme.
[452] We also want to ... bring about improvements in some ... well appreciated services.
[453] Services the council [...] provides which we think could benefit from extra resources.
[454] The example of this of course is the night time call out service, which all parties support, which comes every year as a problem of funding, do we want a full week service?
[455] And we do, the question is can we afford it and we think we can.
[456] These services of course have to be paid for and we do aim ... to keep the level of taxation as low as possible ... but of course we can't aim to bring it down as far as conservatives would want because ... we need, we in the city need, to spend money on things like the education fund ... without which it becomes a city less worth living in.
[457] But we are ... looking f for savings to make greater efficiencies and we think we've found some.
[458] I'm gonna start ... with the support for trade unions ... small item ... [...] twenty six thousand pounds to the NALGO project, there's a G M B budget but that's all ... nearly all paid for out of direct services we don't want to touch that.
[459] This county pays for a full time union official ... this is extravagant, one full timer for five hundred members, that is way over the top ... let me tell you.
[460] I'll give you one example ... the union of communication workers for the post office has one full time worker, one full time officer for two to three thousand.
[461] So we propose to cut that support by half ... in this year and to keep it under review for future years as well.
[462] Because we want to see a review of the whole system of union representation within the council to see whether it's an appropriate sort of representation for an organisation of this size.
[463] We are not against unions, we are for unions, unions can be very useful not only for their members but also for the management, we recognise that.
[464] The amount of money put in by the public.
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [465] I would say to you you've already spent seven minutes of your time ... erm now
Unknown speaker (KGXPSUNK) [...]
(PS4TG) [466] allow you seven minutes in initially also and so