Mayor Anderson claims he sees no difference between a legal and a needs budget (Echo 19/1/16). So I will spell it out carefully. An illegal budget is where a council decides deliberately to spend an amount then fails to identify where the money is coming from.
A needs budget, on the other hand, would entail the Council identifying the amount needed to defend services, then using reserves and prudent borrowing to bridge the gap created by Tory cuts. For Joe, and here’s the rub, it would be the first step in a campaign led by his council to force central government to restore the funding filched from the city to solve the bankers’ crisis. If Osborne can be forced into a U-turn on his tax credit cuts by the House of Lords, he can be made to retreat on council cuts.
Needing a drink after my ‘diatribe’ he sketches the analogy of having only £5 to pay for a £10 round. But, if the Mayor’s inability to pay had resulted from his pocket being picked by a bloated billionaire quaffing Champaign at the bar, I’m sure he would fight to get his money back.
‘If I don’t make the cuts, government inspectors will’, he laments. However, such government intervention requires parliamentary approval. Corbyn could use his position in Parliament to denounce it; this could help in boosting a campaign of such magnitude that the Tories would be compelled to retreat.
Joe should run the idea past Jeremy – he might endorse such a move.

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