22nd Sep, 2019

Council approves its balanced budget despite Labour offering alternative

Harry Leach 2nd Mar, 2019

REDDITCH Borough Council has approved its balanced budget of £9.543m for the coming year despite Labour offering an alternative option.

At the full council meeting this week the Tories rubber stamped a budget which sees an extra £140,000 for homeless services and £80,000 more to improve waste collections.

It means a 2.2 per cent rise in the Borough Council’s portion of the local council tax, taking the charge of the average Band D property to £239.15 – an increase of £5.14 for the year.

The council’s decision means the average overall council tax across the Borough is £1,823.33 this year, an increase of 4.33 per cent or £75.68 for the year.

Labour leader Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill), who put forward an alternative budget on his party’s behalf, said: “In comparison ours would make savings of £160,000 in four years.

“You have given yourself a £60,000 members pay rise, taken £20,000 out of the voluntary sector grants pot and introduced a lottery which will cost a great amount to set up.

“We would not do any of this and it would save this council a lot of money.”

Labour’s alternative budget was defeated by a Tory majority.

The portfolio holder for corporate management, Coun Tom Baker-Price (Con, Arrow Valley), said: “We have worked hard in difficult financial circumstances to produce this balanced budget since taking control of the council in May 2018.

“We’ve included savings and additional income of more than £1.1million and provided, among other things, more money for those in need and waste collection services for the people of Redditch.”

Council leader, Coun Matt Dormer, said: “We continue to focus on providing value for money for residents.

“We do a whole lot more than just collecting bins every week but when we do collect them we do it for less than the price of a chocolate bar.

“That’s great value and we are driving that across all of the council’s services, whether its maintaining our public spaces, helping people live in their homes, or bringing economic development to the town centre.”

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