11 June 2019
Reports for today’s Audit Committee meeting claim that “Norwich City Council is working in the context of the most challenging and uncertain financial times that local government has ever faced. The financial year 2019/20 is the ninth year of austerity and government-imposed funding cuts.” This means that the income that the council is sure of over the next few years is not enough to provide all the services it is currently delivering.
Green councillor, and Chair of the Audit Committee, Ben Price, said:
“Green councillors are appalled by the way central government has withdrawn funding from local government over the past few years. The government’s austerity measures have taken millions away from council budgets.
As the Chair of the Audit committee at City Hall, I expect that many other councils will fail to be able to deliver their statutory services long before Norwich. At some point, central government is going to have to settle with local government and find some way for councils to fund the services that people need.
I feel that the Conservative government is implementing a deliberate policy which is leading to the privatisation of local government by stealth as we are currently witnessing with schools and the NHS.
I am concerned that councils are being forced into making investment decisions for purely commercial reasons. I don’t believe that local government should be financed in this risky manner. It’s important that public money is invested in ethical and sustainable projects rather than being purely at the mercy of a volatile marketplace.
We would have liked to have seen the Labour administration exclusively base their commercial portfolio on local sustainable projects that build a low-carbon future for Norfolk while generating an income.”