Early Budget Setting Saves Local People From Worse Cuts
At Full Council yesterday I was 1 of 77 Councillors who voted in favour of the budget despite it having £43m of savings and, knowing this will mean that some things will be cut that I would prefer to save. The budget did not have to be set until February but by taking the decision yesterday a smaller saving over a longer period can be made which will protect over £7m of front line services, at least for a further year.
The hard facts are, Eric Pickles (Conservative), leading for the Government on Local Government, is not a fan of Local Government and has the belief that local people would be better off ‘doing it themselves’! Sadly, based on information available to the Council, it will be necessary to find a way of saving a further £172 million by 2018/19. If that does have to happen then I fear that things that local people cherish will not be there unless we can rally together and find a way of doing them locally.
I hope to work with the Community Network team to find a way of engaging with local people to find out what is most important to local people, what people can afford to pay something towards keeping and what people, even if reluctantly, accept will have to go.
Based on the decision yesterday, Council tax will rise by 1.97% in April which will be 47 pence per week for a band D homes. This council tax rise contributes £6.54m to the budget.