Cost going up? No, just a spot of price realignment
Kent County Council has insisted it is safeguarding frontline services despite having to make millions of pounds in savings. It is sometimes hard to make a judgement on whether there are cuts, thanks to the oblique language that officers rely on to describe exactly how they are trying to balance the books.
Take, for example, the plan to increase the price of the Young Person’s Travel Card – described in budget papers as “travel pass price realignment to offset bus operator inflationary fare increases.”
Realignment? Not a word many would immediately associate with “price rise”, but maybe that was the point.
Meanwhile, the council is pressing ahead with its new company selling education services to anyone who wants them.
The company being created has been named “The Education People” and will need an upfront investment to set up. The cost? £1.8 million.
It is not just Henry Bolton who is having problems as a Ukip leader. In Thanet, the row over the future use of the former Manston airport site has left council leader Chris Wells on a tightrope, with dark mutterings about an attempt to oust him.
Accused of reneging on a key pledge to reopen Manston, he is certainly vulnerable but may be spared the humiliation of walking the plank. Why? The reluctance of the Conservatives to join forces with the rebel Ukip councillors who want someone else to take charge of the authority.
Getting public bodies – from councils to health trusts – to provide information about their affairs is much easier now thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. The problem is that there appears to be a rather worrying trend for some to use it as cover for avoiding passing comment.
Off The Record has been told by press offices twice in the last month that we would need to submit an FOI request about an FOI request in order to secure a comment. Bizarre.
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