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Last night at the Executive Committee of Harlow Council we were discussing the Good news of the £1.5m underspend in the council budget. The underspend was a result of very tight budget management during the year and a number of one of “windfalls” during the year.
The oppositions Councillors were critical of the original conservative budget, as of course is their right, but none of them seemed to see the foolishness of their arguments. Previous Labour and Lib/Lab coalitions in Harlow had often set budgets gambling on the thought of windfalls that might come during the year, and if that failed they drained reserves. As a prudent Conservative council we decided to not rely on these potential one off windfalls to back up constant revenue spending, thats only sensible.
Anyway, to sensibly use the money that was left this year we decided to top up the councils reserves (which were drained of millions & millions of pounds by profilgrate labour councils in the 80’s and 90’s) and also to top up some of the specific reserves for problems like future redundancies and insurances.
In the last two years of the Lib/Lab coalition a lot of the emergency reserves were raided to prop up spending. The then administration refused to make the tough choices that my administration has since had to face. During those two years they drained £390,000 from the Church Langley reserve; money given to the council by the developers of Church Langley to help maintain it. We gauranteed that a Conservative Administration would pay back that money within 5 years of taking control. Last night it was a pleasure to move a motion of repayment three years earlier than planned, and know that prudent budgeting had made that possible.