South Gloucestershire Conservative councillors succeeded in freezing the Council Tax for a second year running at last night’s council budget meeting, pumping more funding into elderly care and rewarding communities that have seen housing growth .
At the meeting, all councillors were asked to support the recommendations of the Conservative Cabinet, which included:
- Freezing the basic Council Tax for a second year running – saving the average household £93 over the two years
- Extra funding of £5.6m over the next three years for community care services to meet additional demand
- Additional council funding to maintain planned school building improvements first set out last year, as well as support for school energy efficiency improvements
- Plans to use the district’s New Homes Bonus allocation to support additional investment in infrastructure, protect frontline services and support over £700K of new initiatives in communities that have seen new housing growth.
But Labour councillors voted against the plans and have been criticised for failing to stand up for hard-pressed households and vulnerable residents.
And not all Lib Dem councillors backed the budget either, leaving only Conservative councillors to give their unanimous support.
Cabinet Member for Corporate Affairs Cllr John Goddard (Con, Hanham) said:
“The Conservatives were the only political grouping to unanimously support a repeat of the basic Council Tax freeze, which has kept almost £100 in the pockets of the average hard-pressed and hard-working household, as well as additional council funding for our most vulnerable residents.”
“If Labour councillors supported these proposals then they would have put their hands up for them in the main budget vote – but they didn’t.”
“By voting against the budget, Labour councillors opposed helping hard-pressed households, opposed extra funding for elderly care, opposed school improvements and opposed rewarding communities that have seen new homes built.”
“Labour can come up with as many excuses as they like – they had the chance to support the budget or propose their own and they did neither.”
Cllr Goddard added:
“We started planning years ago for the inevitable period of paying down Labour’s debt and deficit and we will stick to our plans to keep costs as low as possible for local taxpayers, while delivering savings through greater efficiency, reducing duplication and waste and transforming the way that the council works to protect the frontline services that our residents want.”
Related link: Budget documents (South Gloucestershire Council)
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council