Labour group call for ‘financial responsibility’ claiming Conservatives have broken their own rules

The Labour group on Dudley Council has criticised the ruling Conservative administration for proposing expenditure in contravention of it’s own rules to save Dudley from bankruptcy.

At a recent Full Council meeting the Tories proposed to reimburse the West Midlands Growth Company a total of £20,000 towards the £50,000 they are committing to a feasibility study into a hotel and ice rink in the town.

However, just a few days prior the Council had introduced strict financial measures that permitted only essential spending. Councillor Cathy Bayton, who chairs the Scrutiny Committee of the Combined Authority, proposed that the decision be deferred to see if the Growth Company could foot the whole bill.

The Labour group say the suggestion was rejected by the leader of Dudley Council, Councillor Patrick Harley and his fellow Conservative Councillors. Cllr Pete Lowe, leader of the Labour Group said:

“The report of an assessment carried out independently by the Local Government Association has been published in the last few weeks which shows that the Council’s finances are in a perilous state and that not enough attention is being paid to essential areas of business like children’s services and adult social care.

“The Conservative administration are fully aware of the findings and yet they still persist with another regeneration project, committing yet more ‘feasibility’ funding by the public to add to yet another long line of failed promises to turn the fortunes of our town around.

“We know the Tories are skating on thin ice with regard to their financial competence, but spending time, energy and public money on this vanity project is surely not the answer”.

A raft of potential savings were identified in a recent report, which stated: “The resulting forecast indicates a significant risk that the general fund reserve could be exhausted within the next one to two years, if action is not taken.” In response to the claim, Cllr Harley added:

"With reference the proposed ice rink [and the feasibility study] the council will get any contribution back many times over and, if successful this project will transform the town centre."


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