Conservatives set out budget priorities

Conservative councillors in Bath and North East Somerset have spelt out their budget priorities for the forthcoming year.

With the Council’s crunch budget meeting taking place on Tuesday 18th February, Conservative councillors have published a list of services they want to see protected as well as areas of spending which Conservatives say need to be treated as a higher priority by the Liberal Democrat-run authority.

Amongst the list of Conservative budget demands are:

  • Accepting a Government offer of funding to freeze Council Tax;
  • Greater protection for at-risk services such as Children’s Centres, Citizens Advice and Social Care;
  • More investment in road repairs, cleaner streets and public transport;
  • ‘Pump-priming’ funding for affordable housing and economic regeneration schemes;
  • Greater efficiency savings from a slimmed-down management structure.

Conservatives have said that their budget proposals have been informed by the results of an online survey they have been conducting, which asks residents for their views on how the Council should use an unexpected budget windfall of nearly £3.5 million.

Residents can still respond to the survey, which will be open until the Council’s budget meeting on the 18th February, by visiting www.bathconservativesurveys.com.

Conservative Shadow spokesman for Resources, Cllr Charles Gerrish, said:

“Over recent weeks we’ve been listening to the views of local people and finding out what areas of spending B&NES residents see as a priority.

“The hundreds of responses to our survey received so far have helped inform our list of things which we want to see B&NES treat as a higher priority. In particular, it’s clear that residents are deeply concerned by the scale of reductions planned to front-line services like Children’s Centres, Citizens’ Advice and libraries, and want to see the Council go further in protecting these areas. People have also said the Council should be doing more to invest in things such as road improvements, affordable housing and regeneration.

“As Conservatives, we also want to see B&NES accept the Government offer of funding to freeze Council Tax, and so are pleased the Council has indicated it will agree to this. We also want the Council to increase efficiency by slimming down its management structures, as was first proposed way back in 2010.

“These therefore make up the priority areas which we want to see B&NES take on board in its budget plans for the coming year.”