Thursday, March 02, 2006

Budget Council - the Outcome

It was a long Budget Council, reminiscent of the days of 'no overall control' - surprising when there's an Administration with an overall majority of 12! At the end of the Leader's speech we finally got to see what the Lib Dems had been cooking up. Instead of a 4.7% council tax hike, they are going for a 3.59% rise financed largely by raiding the Reserves to the tune of £800k, regardless of the Director of Finance's strictures against this in paras 59-62 of his Report to Executive. There are some lame and uncosted proposals for raising extra money in the Leader's motion, but essentially no fundamental issues are tackled and this was a 'vote now pay later' Budget.
We Conservatives put forward a reasoned and costed amendment which would have produced a CT increase of just under 2% and introduced a weekly recycling collection instead of the present fortnightly one. This has to be done if we are serious about increasing the amount of recycled materials from households. It's just too easy at the moment for householders to put tins etc in the dustbin rather than have them hanging about the house for up to a fortnight.
Our proposal did not find favour with the Exec Member for Environment, partly, one thinks, because her side hadn't proposed it. If such a scheme works it would significantly affect the recycling rate and significantly reduce our liability to pay Landfill Tax, currently just under £1m per annum.

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