Instead of more cuts to balance the budget, the Conservative Opposition at Fife Council is calling for new approaches to deliver services across the Council.
In less than two weeks' time, Fife Council will agree its budget for 2019-20. The Labour/SNP Administration will decide how much to increase Council Tax, and how it will achieve further savings to close the £9M budget gap facing the Council.
“The usual formula of cutting services will be the way forward for the Administration” commented Cllr Tony Miklinski, the Scottish Conservative Finance spokesman, “because that’s the only way they know how. They have zero appetite for alternative solutions like partnerships with other Councils or extending the use of the private or third sectors."
“In fact, Fife Council has long used these sectors to deliver services from road maintenance through to building services and Care Home places, where nearly 90% of beds are already in the private sector. These sectors often offer better value for money delivering comparable quality for significantly less cost. Yet the vast majority of Council services, costing in excess of £300M, are still delivered in house."
“This last year has seen damaging cuts in many areas, with Health and Social Care spending way over budget, again. Teacher numbers have been cut, the school day shortened, roads have deteriorated, Re-cycling Centres closed for longer, Home Care Packages refused. Given the chance, we will roll this back through careful and controlled transfer to the private sector of many of Fife Councils’ services, allowing us to re-deploy tens of millions of taxpayer pounds in the process. We can’t afford not to."
The Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Dave Dempsey, added: "We believe that value for money for the taxpayer is paramount. Quality services at the best possible price, and that approach will underpin our Conservative budget. The Council should only deliver services itself when it can prove there isn’t a better way. The problem is that neither the SNP nor Labour have the political will to do that. We do, and our budget will demonstrate how.”
Fife Council will decide its budget on Thursday 21 Feb.