Last night’s Full Council meeting was a busy one, with over 30 items on the agenda, number 10 of which, quite rightly, took up half of the time, it was a budget of over £130m (or £500m if we are talking about all the money that comes in and goes back out)
Full details of the budget can be seen here: http://www.southend.gov.uk/news/article/664/council_sets_201213_budget
The opposition councillors were, as usual, very quick to criticise, but not quite so quick to come up with alternatives.
The leader of the Lib Dems (Graham Longley) listed well over £1,000,000 in savings/reductions/cuts call them what you will, that he didn’t like. Nigel Holdcroft (Leader of the Council) has given MONTHS worth of notice, asking for any ideas and amendments to be made and then they would be considered. Did we have any of those? No, just we don’t like this, that and the other cuts. Well *I* don’t like some of the cutbacks we are having to make. However unlike the Liberals and Independents I do understand the need to have a balanced budget.
The best suggestion Graham Longley could come up with was to put up charges for ALL who were using day centres to keep charges down for the more affluent users of the day care centres (those that can’t afford to pay are paid for by the Council). Blimey and I’m the one that’s usually accused of being the “redneck tory!”
The Independent Party seem to have a bug bear about borrowing. Yes the council borrows money, but as Nigel pointed out in the debate this amounts to about 2% of the total council’s spending. This is money we have to pay back and the Independents are claiming that yours and my children’s future are mortgaged to the hilt. I disagree. The council is making prudent borrowings to fund INVESTMENT for our future and our children’s future. Sow the seeds now and reap the rewards later!