Cumbria County Council’s Eden local committee voted against a motion calling for £74,000 of unallocated funds to be spent “responsibly”.
Regarding an unspent sum of £74,000 in the committee’s communities revenue budget, Neil Hughes (Lib Dem, Eden Lakes) asked for an amendment to be made to a recommendation before them at a virtual meeting.
As well as noting the underspend, Mr Hughes wanted Eden’s local committee to “endeavour to see that it is spent responsibly in the available time frame”, which was seconded by Patricia Bell (Lib Dem, Penrith).
But Hilary Carrick (Con, Penrith) said she hoped it wasn’t being implied that the funding would be spent irresponsibly without that amendment.
“I would suggest that we always endeavour to spend the funding prior to the financial year end,” said Mrs Carrick.
Committee chairman Phil Dew (Con, Kirkby Stephen) said: “We don’t really need an amendment to encourage us to spend our money responsibly.”
Following four votes in favour, from Mr Hughes, Mrs Bell, Andy Connell (Lib Dem, Appleby) and Claire Driver (Lab, Alston and East Fellside) and four votes against, from Mrs Carrick, Mr Dew, David Whipp (Con, Penrith Rural) and Tom Wentworth Waites (Con, Greystoke and Hesket), Mr Dew used his casting vote to defeat the “unnecessary” proposed amendment.
Mrs Bell then asked Mr Dew for his “personal assurance” that the committee would meet in a timely way to understand what the balances are at the end of the year and that Eden county councillors are all involved in any discussions about how any remaining balances might potentially be spent.
“I am happy to give that assurance. None of us would wish to waste money, squander money, or spend it irresponsibly,” said Mr Dew.