Councillors In The Dark Over Restructure Savings

town hall 4Councillors are in the dark over how much has been saved by the Council’s controversial redundancy and restructuring programme.

And the Town Hall is refusing to give a breakdown of savings to back up Chief Executive Theo Leijser’s claim that he’s trimmed up to half a million pounds off the budget.

At last Thursday’s Community Services meeting, Cllr Colin Daly asked where the savings had gone.

It followed a report on Council finances that warned that the authority was facing, “a continued period of financial pressure.”

But no one seemed able to answer his query.

Committee Chairman Richard McCarthy told Colin he’d “better ask” Mr Leijser about the figures, while Finance Officer Sarah Chodkiewicz said, “that’s really is a question for our Chief Executive, I’m afraid.”

Colin also questioned why there was financial pressure when Scilly had seen only small cuts in government funding compared to other councils.

Sarah explained that there had been a 2% cut in the annual grant as well as salary increases of 2.2%. The Council also continued to face a budget deficit next year, she said.

And the Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee backed up the warning.

Cllr Gaz O’Neill said it was, “blatantly obvious” to the community that the Council was under continuing financial pressure.

“We have crumbling infrastructure on the islands and an uncertain future regarding transport,” said Gaz.

He added that we should be “seizing any opportunity to save costs with both hands.”

Cllr McCarthy admitted that the Council hadn’t seen anything like the cuts of other local authorities, but there were “things on our horizon” like implementing the new Care Act that could make finances a problem in the future.

“We might have cost pressures coming out of our ears,” said Richard.

Radio Scilly contact the Council last Thursday to ask how much has been saved in the restructuring, in what services those savings were made and in which financial year.

We’ve not had a response to those questions.

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