Gloucester City Council accounting delays should be over soon
DELAYS in getting city council accounts signed off should finally be over.
The row over the issue reached the debating chamber on Thursday night where Labour Gloucester City Council members refused to vote with the Liberal Democrats and force the ruling Conservatives out of power.
Council leader Paul James said he expected the 2011/12 accounts – which should have been cleared in June – to be signed off "in the next week or so".
"We are not happy about this but the delay is due to two technical issues," he said. They are the accounting of the council tax collection fund and compliance with international financial reporting standards, he explained.
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"This does not affect our accounts in the year ahead and it should be signed off within the next week or so," added Coun James (C, Longlevens).
The 18-strong Tories are in a minority administration, and the two other parties have nine seats each.
The Lib Dem motion, calling for the Tories to resign was defeated – Labour would not back it and accused the Lib Dems of electioneering for county council elections.
"There is a whiff of political opportunism overlaid with desperation in this motion," said Labour leader Kate Haigh (Matson and Robinswood).
"This council faces serious financial challenges caused by their (Lib Dem) national pact with the Tories.
"Now locally they want to overturn the administration so they can grasp power. But they will still be the standard bearers for the deep and destructive cuts we face."
Coun Hilton denied electioneering and said he was concerned the council may not be able to map out spending and cuts for next year if the accounts are not signed off.
"You (Labour) are too scared to take responsibility to help run this council," he said. "It happens in Stroud where Lib Dems, Labour and Greens run the council – their accounts are in on time.
"We don't know whether there is a problem with the accounts or not. They should have been signed off on June 30. It puts the council in a difficult position."
A watered down version of the motion which didn't call for resignations was voted through and it acknowledged the council's 2011/12 accounts had still not been signed off.
Coun Mark Hobbs (L, Moreland) later withdrew a motion calling for the resignation of Debbie Llewellyn, cabinet member for performance and resources, over the issue.