Labour councillor for Newport East, Geoff Lumley, shares this latest news.
This follows the release of the proposed budget by the Conservative Alliance administration at the beginning of the month. Ed
The IW Council Labour Group, together with Reg Barry (LibDem), have today submitted an alternative Budget to Wednesday’s Full Council.
Their budget alternative proposes a 1.99% increase in Council Tax whilst reducing cuts by £1.7m, particularly those to social care services for vulnerable people. It does this by using £3m from the £17.5m Asda capital receipt – a frequent suggestion by Islanders – and £600k from allegedly ‘earmarked reserves’.
Islanders will recall that the new Tory/Ukip Alliance running the Council has proposed the maximum possible 4.99% increase in Council Tax and £7.5m of cuts. They also plan to use all of the ASDA receipt on capital projects that would usually be funded though borrowing, if done at all; contrary to the policy agreed across the Council last February.
Highlights of budget
The Labour/Reg Barry alternative Budget:
- halves the dubious ’efficiencies’ in adult social care by £1 million;
- retains the current opening hours at recycling centres (eg Lynbottom);
- removes the proposed 50% increase in Floating Bridge charges;
- limits the cuts to Family Centres to 5% rather than 15%;
- limits the cuts to youth services to 25% rather than 50%;
- provides for more planning enforcement;
- restores support for the Adult & Community Learning service;
- allocates more money for Rights of Way maintenance;
- removes a £200k proposed saving on the Highways PFI contract that roads should be kept to a high standard for seven years after the Island Roads contract ends.
Many Tory/UKIP efficiencies “unacceptable and unachievable”
Geoff Lumley, leader of the Labour Group said,
“We are advised there is a £7.5m gap in the next Budget and the Conservative/Ukip Alliance have now published a range of service cuts, many of which will hurt services to vulnerable people particularly through some dubious ‘efficiencies’.
“We consider many of them entirely unacceptable and unachievable. We have identified a technical method by which a small portion of the ASDA receipt could be used to protect these services for another year and keep the Council Tax increase down.
“We have always believed that we should protect services for another year so that Islanders will have a choice at the May elections. Between a service slashing Tory-Ukip Alliance or candidates committed to protecting services to vulnerable people. After May Islanders will have made that choice. We want the elections to be a referendum between austerity and cuts or the protection of public services.”
Reg Barry said,
“As well as a 1.99% increase we have decided that Council Tax payers should not have to pay the 3% extra precept for Adult Social Care permitted by central Government.
“We believe that most hard-pressed Islanders cannot afford a 5% increase at a time when wages are depressed and inflation rising. Government should be properly funding Adult Social Care and the NHS.”
Full detail can be read in the papers below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.
Budget papers added 16.34