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Sainsbury's budget debate applauded

An appeal for 'guidance' from Council before the ICE's 2000 budget is set in June has won praise for ICE President Roger Sainsbury.

Sainsbury's initiative to ask Council to offer guidance in the framing of the budget being prepared by the Executive Committee and Group Financial Planning Committee was widely applauded at last week's meeting.

Sainsbury said: 'We have always taken the budget decision in June when Council has not had proper opportunity to think about the underlying issues. This is the first time we have had an open discussion about what those issues are.' Sainsbury added that the budget would 'require the ownership of everybody'.

Past President Sir Alan Cockshaw led the appreciation: 'I commend the Executive and GFPC for having this debate,' he said.

Ensuing discussion centred on whether the higher percentage allocation for international affairs at the expense of the Technical and Engineering Committee should be maintained.

Strong pleas from engineering board chairmen to boost the budget for technical and engineering were countered by others who said that the new structure had to be given a chance to bear fruit. Transport board chairman David Bayliss paid tribute to the staff of technical and engineering division who had successfully streamlined operations to cope with the budget cut, but complained about limited scope to increase activity during the crucial post-Transport White Paper period. 'Some of the initiatives we wanted to action have had to be put on hold,' he said.

Vice President Joe Dywer supported the current allocation of funds. He said: 'We are challenging some of the policies that council has already made. Would it not be a good idea to have a three year rolling programme?'

Others argued that funds would be freed up by reduced spending on expensive Information Technology developments. Relaying the Presidential Address live to regional centres was cited as a waste of £10,000 considering the number of members attending. Better value for money could be attained by circulating a video of the address.

Senior Vice President George Fleming expressed concern at the amount of money being spent on developing a new database, ICECOLD (check): 'We can use IT in a much better way than we do at present. I am concerned about the amount of money being spent on ICECOLD,' he said.

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