Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Council Budget & Edinburgh University

More preparatory 2008/09 budget meetings this morning ... I have to say, even though it's nearly November (and budget day is only about 15-weeks away!) there are still huge uncertainties lurking around.

Now, to be fair, this is always - to some extent - the case when going through this process, but I do seriously sense even more 'doubt' about the general situation this year:
  • the overall local government settlement isn't going to be announced until December (apparently?) and if that slips, which is feasible, then there will literally only be a few weeks left before Councils have to set their budgets
  • no one seems to know with any certainty just what is going to happen around the whole issue of Council Tax this year, or next
  • is local authority autonomy to settle Council Tax rates going to be removed or not?
  • If it is, will there be 'fair and reasonable' financial compensation for the Council Tax assumptions that were made previously?
Obviously, the whole process is going to be very different for me in Opposition this year ... but I get the sense that, to be fair, it's also going to be pretty damned trying for the new Administration as they appear to be as much in the dark on some issues as everyone else.

None of which is good, and just reinforces my previous concerns about the 'central/local' relationship not having settled down since the elections in May.

I do hope my fears are unfounded.

Anyhow, a much more enjoyable afternoon was had - spent an hour or so speaking to Edinburgh University Students ... as per previous years ... and I didn't have to worry at all this year about being indiscreet :-)

Opposition does have some small benefits after all ...

... they are very small though :-(

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