So why did county pick lollipop fight?

A FAIRLY non-descript press release and fact that emerged at this week’s county council cabinet really told us all we needed to know about the pointlessness of the New Strategic Direction.

The county underspent by �2.8 million last year. That was hailed as a success – but it was pointed out that it amounted to less than 0.6 per cent of the budget that is controlled by the council.

But look at it another way. The �2.8 million underspend transferred to this year was enough money to finance the county’s school crossing patrol service . . . for a decade!

Or, put another way, it would have saved all the road crossing patrols AND Felixstowe fire station’s full time crews for another five years.

Of course both of those services have been saved by the new regime at Endeavour House – but what a lot of upset the proposals to scrap them caused!

When you see the amount of pain that the former administration and its new strategic direction was causing for such a miniscule saving, is it any wonder that the backbench Tories revolted and elected a leader who actually understood how important it is for a politician to carry the people with you?

If you look at the changes proposed by the new administration at the county, they don’t actually involve spending shedloads of extra money – but they do avoid the appearance of causing pain for tiny savings.

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And if the council can find an “extra” �2.8 million of savings one year, who can say they won’t do the same again next year?

When you are running an authority with a total turnover of about �1 billion it is important to ensure it is as efficient as possible.

But it is also vital to avoid the impression that you are making meaningless cuts just to look macho – that’s what we saw in the heyday of the New Strategic Direction!