Lib Dems want Tories to face 'no confidence' vote at Gloucester City Council
CONSERVATIVES look set to hold on to power in a row over finances at Gloucester City Council.
A move by the Liberal Democrat group to oust the 18-strong Tory group from power looks set to fail because Labour members are unlikely to back it.
Because the council's accounts for last year haven't been signed off, the Lib Dems are calling for a vote of no confidence in the administration, which is run by the Tories.
But the Lib Dems only have nine members and would need nine votes from the Labour group to make it work.
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Yesterday, Labour group leader Kate Haigh said she was unhappy about the situation but now isn't the time to try to seize power.
"It's quite clear from what the Liberal Democrats are saying, what their motivation is, and I am concerned about the accounts," she said. "I don't think it's responsible to start, in the middle of a difficult budget-setting process, political posturing."
The Tories are set to face a vote of no confidence at the next full meeting on Thursday, January 24.
If it goes through, city council leader Paul James could be ousted but that appears to be unlikely.
Lib Dem leader Jeremy Hilton 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," said Mr Hilton. "We cannot rely on the accuracy of the council's financial accounts. The complacency of the Tory administration is unbelievable."
Audited accounts should have been completed by September 30 2012 and are used as a base to predict income and spending for 2013/14, said Mr Hilton.
Mr James said there is no financial crisis.
"The council's finances are in good shape given the substantial savings we have been expected to make and have delivered," he said.
"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."