COUNCILLOR Psirides considers that the qualified auditors' report on Bromsgrove District Council is entirely due to the low level of reserves and the general delays in dealing with benefit claims (You Say, March 8).

Can he be referring to KPMG's Management Letter of December 22 last year? The auditors are at pains to bring to Coun Psirides' attention numerous failings that occurred within the first year of his administration.

As he seems to have missed most of them, I will mention some.

Making the Chief Executive and the Head of Policy and Performance redundant, and employing insufficient staff in finance departments, has meant that the authority was not able to benefit from the programme of national value for money studies.

Neither was it able to put forward a satisfactory Best Value Performance Plan, with some performance indicators being incorrectly calculated.

Bromsgrove District Council has also failed to manage its financial affairs to make best use of its existing financial assets, and the council tax collection rate has fallen dramatically.

The Labour administration may have overspent, but this overspending has been continued by the Conservative administration.

The auditors point to an estimated £31,000 to be taken from reserves which actually became an overspend of £300,000 in 2000/01.

In addition, capital spending has also increased compared to the previous year. This gives one no confidence that Coun Psirides' administration can rebuild the depleted reserves.

You can't go on blaming others, Coun Psirides; the problem is yours and you must tackle it now if the authority is to avoid a financial crisis.


Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate,