Tuesday 7 March 2017

Dudley UKIP councillors defeat Labour and Conservative budgets

Dudley's UKIP councillors successfully challenged both a Labour and Conservative budget last night despite having just eight of the 72 seats on the council.

Labour councillors wanted to put up council tax by 4.99% and the Conservatives 3.99% with a guaranteed rise in council tax next year. UKIP put forward an amendment to the Conservative budget which would ringfence 3% of the 3.99% for social care and bring in an outside company to handle the procurement who would be paid a percentage of the cost savings they make.

UKIP is generally committed to freezing or cutting council tax but you can't win every fight and clearly eight UKIP councillors are massively outnumbered so this compromise is a good one in the circumstances. There's a risk of an ATOS-style shambles without proper scrutiny so the success of the arrangement will come down to whether council officers manage their supplier effectively or not but this is the best outcome the group could have hoped for.

Commenting on the meeting, Cllr Dean Perks said:
We voted against both but had to set a budget legally or the government would step in and we'd be stripped to basics. In the end UKIP put an amendment to the Tory option so we got 3% adult social care ring fenced increase and 0.99% general increase, total 3.99%.

But in addition UKIP moved to bring in an outside professional company to deal with procurement which will save £millions securing front line services and avoiding an increase in general fund next year through prudent management of purchasing. In a nut shell we will save 5% from the £385million annual spend.