Taking frugal too far

Cllr Essex and I had a letter in the Surrey Mirror this week.  I can’t find it online; this is what we wrote:

Invest in our community

Our Council is underspending on its budgets, reports the Surrey Mirror (Frugal Council, 12 January 2012) setting out that revenue and capital expenditure combined will come in more than £1,170,000 under budget this year.

Frugality is a good thing but our Council’s current proposals take this too far. The Conservatives obsession with austerity risks blinding them to their duty to provide services for local residents.

On top of these savings, this coming year our Council will get £1.1 million from the Government as a bonus for building new homes. It will also save £700,000 from the improved recycling service.

So why is it refusing to refill vacant posts? Why is it scrapping canteen lunches for elderly people at Woodhatch and other centres, to save a few thousands?

Other Councils are investing their New Homes Bonus money in projects to benefit their communities now. We would like to see our council to do the same. There is no virtue in sitting on bags of money while we have rising unemployment and homelessness, and community centres are left to go derelict.

We call on our Council to use its money wisely, to save services proposed for the axe, and invest more in measures to support our community.

Cllr Jonathan Essex and Cllr Sarah Finch

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