Calls for more transparency over new £1.3 million Hull City Council fund
A NEW £1.3-million city council budget will not be used as a "slush fund" to pay for pet projects,
The so-called "strategic investment contingency fund" has been created with unspent money from the authority's last annual budget.
In a full council debate, opposition Conservative group leader Councillor John Fareham said the new-look budget should be renamed "the leader's slush fund".
He claimed there were no "clear and transparent" ways of making sure money from the fund would not frittered away on pet schemes.
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Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Abi Bell also accused Labour leaders of having no clear plans for spending the money.
She said: "I am concerned at the decision-making process behind this and how the spending will be monitored. At the moment, there is no indication of how backbench councillors will be involved."
But deputy council leader Councillor Daren Hale said the fund had been created for different departments to bid into if they came up with projects and initiatives that would ultimately save the council money.
"If the bids are not good enough, money will not be allocated," he said.
He said bids would be assessed by a panel of cabinet councillors and claimed that achieving an annual budget underspend was one of the few ways of recycling funding in the face of continuing government cutbacks.
Council leader Councillor Steve Brady said: "Anyone who knows me will know I will very careful over how this contingency fund will be spent.
"It has to be used very strategically because of the financial pressures created by the government and I certainly do not need any lessons on finance from the Liberal Democrats."