Conservative leadership on Bucks CC means overspending while racking up debts. It means choosing loss-making ‘investment’ decisions. Under the Conservatives, the county’s going broke.
Debts and overspending
In 2015/16, the council spent £53 million just on servicing debts, far more than it spent on education (£29.7 million) and transport (£27.9 million).
For every £100 it got in income, the council spent £16 on its debts.
Last year, the council overspent its budget by £21 million. The year before the overspend was £40 million.
RUNNING DOWN THE COUNTY
In 2011, the Council had assets worth £660 million. In 2015, its assets were worth £450 million. In four years Conservative councillors lost a third of the council’s asset value, while still overspending.
LOSING MONEY BETTING ON HORSES
In March 2016, the council invested £1.7M in an Equestrian Centre between Soulbury and Wing. It’s expected to generate £32,000 in profit per year – a return on capital equivalent to 1.8% per year (less than some bank current accounts).
But Buckinghamshire County Council has £172,000,000 of capital debt, on which it pays an average rate of interest of 5.8%. So if the money had been used to pay debts, it would have saved £98,600 a year in interest.
Betting on horses has left the council almost £67,000 a year worse off.
BURNING MONEY IN AN INCINERATOR
In 2013, the county council paid FCC Environment £185,000,000 to build and operate an incinerator at Greatmoor for 30 years. In return, the council saves £5 million each year, or £150 million overall.
The loss-making deal sends £35,000,000 up in smoke. That’s like buying £10 notes for £12 each.
Worse, the deal was funded by borrowing so the loan interest adds to the losses.
Conservative leadership means a plan that will never catch up with the damage done to Buckinghamshire’s roads – more potholes, more damage to your vehicle.
A 2014 council report estimated damage to the county’s roads to be between £10 million and £14 million each year.
It also said that the road repair backlog in 2010 was between £112 million and £160 million. Spending since then has done little to improve things.
In the next three years the Conservatives say they’ll spend £32 million on repairs, but the cost of new damage in the same time could be as much as £42 million, meaning the holes will just keep getting bigger and more frequent.
UNSAFE CHILDREN’S SERVICES
In 2014, inspectors found that children’s services in Buckinghamshire were inadequate.
The council were required to submit a plan saying how they would improve the services. They didn’t bother, so the government had to put its own team in to sort out the mess.
The latest report says that the services, which are supposed to protect and support some of the most vulnerable people in the county, are still poor and the council is in no hurry to do anything about it.
Under the Conservatives, our children aren’t considered worth the bare minimum of effort.
UNSAFE CARE SERVICES
A Conservative privatisation of council care services in 2013 was supposed to save money. Just three years later, they were brought back into public ownership at a cost of £2,400,000 to local taxpayers.
Government inspectors had found unsafe buildings, and even uninvited strangers wandering into people’s rooms. The new company was too slow to do anything about the problems.
The Conservative leadership said that the unsafe and inadequate services were justified by the cost savings, even as they cancelled the contract because of the appalling value for money it provided.