Bath and North East Somerset Council last night voted through the Conservative budget proposals for 2009/10, with the support of independent Councillors.
Following the Council meeting which agreed the budget, Cllr Malcolm Hanney (Con, Chew Valley North), the Cabinet Member for Resources, commented:
“The Conservatives tabled a budget that lives within our means whilst continuing to invest in front-line services. We are keeping the Council Tax rise to a historically low level and delivering on residents’ priorities, such as extra investment in street cleaning, waste collections, carbon reduction, youth activities and support for the local economy.
“The Lib Dem’s spend now – tax later proposals simply didn’t add up. They would leave a £3.5million black-hole in the following two years’ budgets and would mean going back to the days of 6% Council Tax rises. During the tough economic times we are faced with, such reckless proposals cannot be the right thing for B&NES residents.”
Cllr Hanney added that if the Government was not withholding a large amount of grant entitlement from B&NES, a zero per cent Council Tax rise could have been possible. According to the Government’s own grant formula calculations, Bath and North East Somerset Council has received £2.3 million less than it was entitled in 2009/10. Similarly, despite a promise by Government to fully fund the over-60s concessionary fare scheme the Council estimates there will be a £1.3 million shortfall in 2009/10 – since the scheme started in April 2004, the latest shortfall would bring the cumulative central Government shortfall to £4.3 million.