Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cllr McClements "shocked and appalled" at his party's tactics

Councillor Bill McClements, the Cabinet Member for Resources & Service Delivery at Telford & Wrekin, has criticised the Tory group for dipping into the council's cash reserves in its pre-election budget last year.

Cllr McClements, who is one of the borough councillors for the Nedge Ward which covers parts of Stirchley, says he is "shocked and appalled that the last administration raided council tax reserves before the elections last May" and describes it as "clearly an attempt to buy the election and the people of Telford & Wrekin saw through it".

Unfortunately for Cllr McClements, not everyone in Telford & Wrekin has as short a memory as him and some of us can remember back to the last pre-election budget in 2007 which was set by the previous Labour administration.  That pre-election Labour budget saw council tax increases kept to 2.9% with an unfunded spending bonanza that left a £2.3m hold in the council's finances.  And how was this £2.3m hole in the finances plugged?  By dipping into the council's cash reserves of course.

In 2007, the Labour administration spent a third of the council's cash reserves to fund its pre-election budget in what was "clearly an attempt to buy the election" but unfortunately for them, "the people of Telford & Wrekin saw through it".  I wonder if Cllr McClements was equally "shocked and appalled" that the last Labour administration raided council tax reserves before the elections in May 2007?

The leader of the Tory Group and former Leader of the council, Andrew Eade, disputes Labour's figures and says that there more in reserves than when they took over from Labour in 2007.  Neither side is particularly good with money so who knows who's telling the truth?  One thing is for sure though, it is rank hypocrisy for a Labour councillor to criticise the Tories for spending the council's cash reserves to buy votes in an election year when they did exactly the same thing in the previous election.