As I blogged yesterday one of the key constraints on this administration, and the previous one, is the burgeoning population and the consequent increase in demand for primary school places. The scope for any additional capital spending is therefore very small and needs to be considered very carefully.
If you listened to Labour politicians you might think that the previous administration had allocated nothing to internal IT upgrades in recent years. In fact in the last year the old administration had allocated £1.5 million to upgrade the security of the council’s IT and to upgrade the council’s PCs to Windows XP.
In the headlines of the budget report the council talked about spending £3.6 million on replacement of PCs, servers and applications to support the efficiency needs of the Council. This figure does not include the additional £3 million put into IT by the council in July of last year. So the total for this programme is £6.6 million. Add in the £1 million required to fit more people into Perceval House and the £8.7 million (net of capital receipts) to build new council offices and you can see that the council is spending out big time on itself – £16.3 million. This figure is far bigger than any other capital allocation the new administration has made outside schools.
The new council administration looks like it is in favour of investing in the council itself rather than the assets that residents use such as roads, parks and libraries.