There you are then. The council has set its budget for 2016/17, and my council tax bill has arrived at home as proof of that. Why do bills always arrive quicker than refunds? I guess that’s an unwritten rule of the universe.
The agreed budget enables us to maintain course in our financial strategy and to continue the progress we are making with the development of services and activity. There are of course areas where we are going to be doing things that none of us would necessarily choose to do. That is the consequence of financial reality. A reality we can’t avoid.
None of us came to work in public services with the aim of making millions and retiring to a private island in the Caribbean. It’s a bit unlikely in any case. Usually there is in us all a hard wired desire to work at a job that makes a difference, adds something rather than takes things away. You readily see this in people who work at the council, in the NHS or in other parts of the public services.
That attribute makes it all the more difficult to accept the impact of the austerity agenda. But accept it we must. We all have to live within our means and the council is no different. And that means some of the things we have been able to do in the past, and some of the ways we have used to deliver those things, will need to be reviewed and may be altered, or stopped. Things we don’t like will happen. This years budget includes a few of those.
But on the other side of this is the clear commitment of all of us to do the very best with what we have. Working harder to prioritise need and allocate resources. Fortunately we are pretty good at that, and getting better still.