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Overspend a farce

PUBLISHED: 14:20 16 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:38 05 July 2010

IF it were not for the very serious implications for council taxpayers, Waveney's currently projected budgetary overspend of £5m would bear all the hallmarks of classic farce.

IF it were not for the very serious implications for council taxpayers, Waveney's currently projected budgetary overspend of £5m would bear all the hallmarks of classic farce.

The level of financial incompetence which has allowed such a situation to arise is simply jaw dropping.

No other organisation, not cushioned by public funds (that is your money and mine) could, or should, survive such gross and persistent mismanagement.

And what of the response? We are told that “job losses have not been ruled out.” Not been ruled out! They should already have happened, starting with those charged with budget scrutiny and monitoring and that includes both paid officials and elected councillors.

When asked for an assurance that the council (for that substitute taxpayer) should never find itself in this predicament again, the new chief executive said: “We are never going to say never.” Why not? This crisis is not the result of some natural immutable occurrence but of negligence and incompetence. He did go on to say: “But I give you my assurance that we will make every effort to ensure this never happens again.”

So that is alright then.

Reassured? Don't be. No one will be sacked, disciplined or asked to resign for this appalling fiasco.

The result is that nothing will be learned. The only people to be held to account for this shambles will be you, the poor, long suffering council taxpayer. Bear this in mind when next asked to cast your vote in local elections.

We are told by the leader of the council that “Everyone is aware of the seriousness of the situation and are working to put it right.”

Well here is one suggestion. Immediately freeze all the allowances paid to councillors and earmark this money as a compensatory saving to set against the budget overspend.

KEITH HUMPHREY

London Road South

Lowestoft

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