Claims that ‘ignorance or incompetence’ must be to blame for Bucks County Council’s freeze on spending rang loud and clear in the council chamber this week.
At a meeting of the full council, opposition members quizzed leader Martin Tett, on the news that ‘non essential’ spending is to be put on hold until the end of the financial year.
Lib Dem councillor Steven Lambert, who sat on the budget scrutiny committee before the decision was made, said: “How extraordinary that we find ourselves at the end of quarter two with a massive budget freeze.
“When we went to scrutiny in January, and had the budget debate here, we were assured that were some concerns, yes, but this is the budget that we would have.
“This looks more like what a Labour council would go through, not a Tory council would go through, having to freeze the budget and not knowing.
“It’s either ignorance or incompetance and I would like to know which.”
Leader Martin Tett responded: “I have always said that there were risks to the budget, these are tough times for the council and this is the case right across the country.
“Virtually every county council is experiencing extra pressures, the growth and challenges of an ageing population and increasing costs that have increased more rapidly than we predicted.”
Labour councillor Robin Stuchbury, added: “ I wonder how we are going to get past this, because what the public really needs is honesty and transparency.”