So we come around to budget time again, in Southend-on-Sea, and it doesn’t make for exactly pleasant reading for those who don’t want to see the town cut away to nothing.
The Conservative government, in its wisdom, has decided that the Borough of Southend-on-Sea has £8.43m too much in funding, and so has issued another 28% cut to the council’s funding. In the national interest, we are told, but there’s a dishonesty at its core. The Treasury keeps loading the tough decisions onto councils to cover up the incompetence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, heading fast towards the point where vital services will become unsustainable.
In the light of all this, then, the budget constructed by the joint administration in Southend is a work of wonder, with services preserved and serious pain avoided. And having seen them utterly fail to scrutinise it at the three scrutiny committees last week, I can only presume that the Conservatives agree.