I am disappointed but not surprised that John Redwood has taken the position of defending the government above supporting the council and local residents in calling for a fair deal from a new local government funding model; one that would be based on the genuine costs of running a local authority, including funding the complex and expensive provision of care for children and adults in need.
His response confuses reliable revenue funding with the council’s success in bidding for capital grants. Grant money received for specific projects cannot be spent elsewhere. For example the money received to fund the additional SEND schools cannot be used for anything else and does not help to cover the additional £11 million needed as a result of this government’s record inflation levels.
He also seems confused about the responsible use of financial reserves. These are a safety net - if used to cover everyday expenses and statutory services they would quickly run out and would not be replaced.
This Lib Dem council is transparent about our financial decision making criteria. Despite huge financial pressures, we will ensure that essential services are prioritised for those who need them the most and we will balance the books in the short term.
In order to build a thriving and greener future for Wokingham we are calling for a new local government funding model based on the genuine costs of running a Local Authority and one that covers a longer period of time to allow for more effective long-term financial planning. If John Redwood was interested in the future of the Borough and supporting all of its residents, one would think he would support a fair deal for Wokingham. Sadly it seems this is not the case.