In February 2015 when the Council set its budget and council tax for 2015-16, there was a predicted under spend from 2014-15 of £2.2m. Now the accounts for last year are being closed, that figure has grown to £11.154m.
Rather than use this money to reverse cuts to services, the Executive agreed on 10 June to spend £10.165m of this under spend on buying commercial properties. This is in addition to the £74m already allocated for such investments in the 2015-16 budget. In total, Bromley Council now has more than £300m in reserves.
Cllr Angela Wilkins (Leader, Labour Group) said:
“I simply cannot understand just how £2.2m has – in a matter of a few weeks – grown into £11.1m, a massive five times the original under spend predicted.
However this unexpected bonus gives the Council a real choice – they have the opportunity now to reverse some or all of the cuts to front line services being made this year, and still maintain a balanced budget.
A Council has to ensure it funds its activities but we were elected to provide services for our residents, not to act like property magnates.
The Labour Group has therefore put forward a motion for discussion at tonight’s full council meeting to re-affirm that the council exists to provide services and not just to play Monopoly with tax payer’s money.
I wish Tory councillors the best of luck explaining to electors why they persist with cuts to services when they clearly have the money available but decide instead to buy properties such as hotels and supermarkets”
Council UNITE employees are currently taking industrial action against cuts and privatisation and are supported by the Labour Group.