I’ll bet every local government head of finance will have studied Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, document – 50 ways to save, in which Eric Pickles says,
“This document contains practical tips and guidance on making sensible savings, highlighting ways that councillors can challenge officers to deliver savings, and ways that taxpayers can challenge councillors. Some savings are small and easy to deliver, some are very big and take slightly longer to introduce.”
Therefore, I’ve printed a copy and will be asking questions, just as other councillors will I’m sure. The suggestion about replacing bottled water with tap water is interesting, where the document says,
“Also, ban mineral water at council meetings. Tap water in refillable bottles costs nothing and is better for the environment. Manchester council cut 90% in two years off its £93,000 bottled mineral water bill.”
I can’t be exactly sure of my dates here. At one of the early meetings I attended in Surrey Heath’s council chamber, I noticed that the small bottles of still and sparkling water were of French origin. I asked a question about it, and why we couldn’t have British bottled water.
I didn’t get an answer. Later, I can’t be sure how long, the bottled water in the Council Chamber became of British origin. Please don’t think I’m claiming credit, because that change may have been in process anyway. But, I like to think to myself that I might have made a difference. I’d be happy to drink tap water, but others, and that includes my wife, have a strong preference for mineral water. I don’t imagine our annual bill for water is large. But, I’ll find out.
Many of the suggested ways to save have already been achieved by Surrey Heath. We have one of the highest Council Tax collections in England. Also, our council offices are already home to the Surrey Police, Surrey County Council Adult Social Care, and Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group.
In any event, I’ll provide detailed answers to each of the 50 suggestions. Might take a week or so to get complete answers to each one.