As someone who has felt that government spending has grown too fast throughout most of the last ten years I am relieved that the coalition has faced up to the deficit, the rate of increase of our debt. It was unsustainable.
As a Conservative I cannot escape some share of the responsibility for what happens locally. But, if our government grant and local spending are only pegged back to levels seen as recently as 2007 or 2008 it will not be the end of the world.
Our council, the administration, the Labour group, the people in charge now, need to take responsibility for the out-turn. Although they have seen a 28% cut in their main grant this is only some 5% of the overall revenue expenditure of the council which was Â£1,031 million in 2009/10.
Labour has chosen to make sure the cuts hurt. This is a political decision. The graph below shows how Labour consciously decided to target some high profile services to drive home their point.
I have shown how Labour does not have the foresight, the skills or the will to think through and confront issues such as organisational change, senior management costs, staff terms and conditions and shared services.
On the capital side of the budget where Labour has some room for manoeuvre, albeit limited by schools spending, it has made the wrong choice every time. Â£5.5 million for a car park whilst road spending is reduced and libraries and day centres are closed and the parks are left to lie fallow. The biggest area of spending after schools is the Â£16.3 million that the council will spend on itself.
In making this budget Labour has demonstrated that its priorities are wrong. The council itself, its senior managers and its staff are put before residents.