Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Balancing the books

That report on the Scottish Budget (for 2010/11) was duly approved at today's Policy and Strategy Meeting --- at last a recognition that monies are increasing, in both cash and real terms, for next year!

As I've repeatedly argued over recent weeks, this is not to deny there are serious and difficult financial challenges facing this Local Authority - but declining income next year IS NOT one of them.

As I've already said - for the last 10-years, the rate of 'expenditure-increase' has been covered by an equally sizeable rate of 'income-increase' - for the next 10-years a similar (and continuing) rate of 'expenditure-increase' isn't being matched by an equivalent rate of 'income-increase' ... but income is still rising.

Solution: levels of local expenditure need to be controlled by those locally in power - it was ever-thus ...

... and despite all the puerile political posturing about financial control under previous local Administrations, the fact remains that for the whole 23-years of 1984-2007 there was NEVER ONCE a qualification on the accounts of the City of Edinburgh Council. They were signed off by the relevant Director of Finance internally, and approved by Audit Scotland (or the equivalent body) externally - EVERY YEAR for 23-years.

The current local SNP/Lib-Dem Administration have now accomplished that for 2-years and, despite the admitted difficulties, need to get on with achieving the same outcome for the 2010/11 budget and stop insinuating whilst doing so that 'income is falling'. It is not.

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