Cllr Tim Crowley, the Conservative Finance Spokesman on Sutton Council says Liberal Democrats are ignoring the need for deficit reduction.
The London Borough Of Sutton is a flagship Lib Dem council. It is in fact the longest held Lib Dem council in the UK having taken power before the Lib Dems were even conceived.
It would therefore be logical to assume that the Lib Dems here would be full square behind the coalition and want to implement policies from the coalition agreement.
Well you would be right in that the localism bill is top of their agenda as is health commissioning (not surprising as Paul Burstow the health minister is Lib Dem MP for Sutton). If you read this weeks Sutton Guardian letters page where the other Lib Dem MP for the area Tom Brake waxes lyrically about the coalition agreement and the need to make hard decisions on spending due to Labours spending splurge, you would imagine that they would be wedded to the deficit reduction programme.
But you would be wrong in assuming that.
The Lib Dems in Sutton have actually embarked on a local deficit increasing scheme rather than a reduction.
Two capital projects totalling £25 million have just been approved by the councils executive with most of it funded by “prudential borrowing” The very borrowing that has now been cut by the coalition government.
£14 million of this will be used to improve the boroughs civic offices and the rest to refurbish the borough largest leisure centre. Most of the money will be borrowed over 50 years to decrease interest payments in the short term. This means that the borough will be paying for these two projects for generations to come. And what about the areas where the borough have to spend money such as decent homes and primary schools? Well here they are following the coalition agreement and refusing to borrow so people will continue to live in substandard accommodation and children will be crammed into temporary classrooms.
So why are they adopting this approach? Because they are arrogant and have an insatiable appetite to spend money on projects that they think win votes and protect the civil servants that they depend on.
They need to be stopped and stopped quickly…