Council should get "bonus" for financial managementBy Jon Nurse
February 26, 2013
Council bosses feel their prudent spending deserves a bonus rather than another Government grant cut.
Faced with the lowest formula grant per person in the country, Wokingham Borough Council is being forced to make widespread savings.
Members of the borough council’s decision making executive likened the disappointing grant to being penalised for success while others are rewarded for failure.
Councillor Anthony Pollock, executive member for finance, said: “When people do well in their employment they get a bonus. We do well and get nothing.”
The council has saved £16.5 million since 2009, but has in turn been given increasingly lower grants from the Government – the latest is its worst ever finance settlement of just £86.60 per person.
The figure is around a quarter of the national unitary authority average of £313.10.
Chief executive Andy Couldrick said: “Rewarding good behaviour incentivises the good behaviour to continue. It feels like we behave well in many ways, but it doesn’t get rewarded.”
Graham Ebers, strategic director of resources, added: “The grants are so steered by deprivation factors it goes to the point of becoming bizarre.
“How can the basic grant per person be £86 per person here when elsewhere it’s nearer £1,000? I’m not saying there shouldn’t be some recognition of deprivation factors but it feels quite unbelievable.”