The Bickerstaffe Record
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Cotterill on the Council

National bus passes and Council double speak

04.24.08 | Comment?

Below re are two bits of a motion passed by the ruling Conservative group last night at the Council meeting, on the matter of how many additional concessions they will grant over and above the government’s free bus travel for all over 60s. 

“That it be noted that budgetary provision for 2008/09 has been made to cover the extra concessions….., which are over and above the national scheme, and the financial uncertainty surrounding the new scheme and in this latter respect requests Cabinet to monitor the revenue the implications through 2008/09 and, if necessary, bring forward amended proposals at, or before the 2009/10.? 

and 

“That any additional costs for 2008/09 arising from the above be met from balances.? 

This is a great bit of having cake and eating it too. They say they definitely WILL pay the additional costs (if ‘any’ means ‘all’), which seems very good, but at the same time they say they’ll check DURING the budget year, and if the costs are too much, they might change their mind. 

I raised this internal inconsistency in the motion at the Council meeting, but the Tories simply claimed not too know what I was talking about.  Then, in his summing up, the Tory portfolio holder for Finance said the same thing again – first, what a wonderful thing it was that he could guarantee this extra provision, and second, that the council is very cautious about its money and will keep things under review. 

As ever, the devil is in the detail, but I for one will be watching closely to make sure the provision doesn’t ‘quietly’ disappear during the year – so called ‘extra’ provision for Dial-a-Ride, some disabled pass holders and peak journey travel which in fact already exists but could be taken away by subterfuge if we’re not careful….

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