'Financial tsunami' facing Gloucester City Council
Opposition councillors in Gloucester have warned of a "financial tsunami" facing the city council and proposed a vote of no confidence in the Tory administration.
The council is one of only two nationwide not to have signed off its 2011/12 accounts, which should have been done under Audit Commission rules by September 30.
Liberal Democrats will table a no confidence motion on January 24 which they said, if voted through, would result in council leader Paul James and his cabinet being sacked.
The accounts are used as a base for income and spending in the next financial year and there are fears that such a lengthy delay could impact on setting next year's budget.
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Liberal Democrat leader Jeremy Hilton, who will propose the vote of no confidence, said: "The city council is facing a financial tsunami that is all of the making of Paul James and his Tory cabinet.
"Last year's accounts haven't been completed and now the council has to set the council tax for the coming year. We cannot rely on the accuracy of the council's financial accounts. The complacency of the Tory administration is unbelievable."
His deputy Sebastian Field said: "The financial situation on Gloucester City Council is dire. The Tories are proposing £2.4million worth of cuts and we still don't have an accurate base to predict spending in the future. The Tories cannot cope and they should go. We can win the vote of no confidence if Labour councillors vote with us."
Mr Hilton confirmed his party would be willing to work with other councillors in a new administration to sort out the council's financial affairs and added: "We must do what is best for Gloucester and working with councillors from other parties to stabilise the council's finances is on our agenda."
Council leader Paul James, however, said the council's finances are fine.
"There is no financial crisis," he said. "The Council's finances are in good shape given the substantial savings we have been expected to make and have delivered.
"There have been some issues with the audit which are very close to being resolved. These are technical not political issues and they don't affect us setting the next year's budget.
"This is a purely political motion with no thought as to what is in the city's best interests. The last time the Lib Dems were in administration it ended in tears and we had to pick up the pieces. Ours has been the most successful administration in the city for a long time and there is a lot we still want to achieve."