Cheshire West & Chester Conservatives vote against the Labour Administration’s 21/22 Budget and maximum Council Tax increase at Full Council last night.
Cllr Neil Sullivan, Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance, agreed with the Councils summation of “unprecedented times” but with the backdrop of Government’s unprecedented response to protect lives, jobs and livelihoods stated,
“What makes me angry is that the budget tonight ignores the real hardship for those on ﬁxed incomes, the self-employed, and people struggling to get by in the private sector are facing.”
“Labour are applying the same old Maxim - Tax to the Limit”
Cllr Sullivan went on to list the increasing funding received by the Council and called into question the need to raise Council Tax for residents, particularly in light of residents continuing concerns for family, ﬁnances, job security, and with many in the business community into reserves or sadly out of business all together.
Outside the proposed Council Tax Increase, Cllr Sullivan detailed a catalogue of mismanagement, poor decision making and poor ﬁnancial stewardship. This included the Administration’s decision to press on with building new oﬃces in Ellesmere Port in a time when 90% of Council Staﬀ are working remotely and the CWaC People Plan highlights ﬂexible working as the future.
Cllr Margaret Parker, Leader of the Conservative Group, commented “Despite the Labour Group’s incessant claims that any Government support is just never being enough - the reality is, ignoring all the spin, this Administration has had unprecedented levels of additional funding throughout the pandemic.”
“Emergency funding aside, this budget has forecasted over £60m more to spend in this coming year than the year Labour came into oﬃce - spending has increased every year throughout this Administration - that is not austerity”
The Conservative Group accused the Labour Administration of misleading residents, stating “It is time that this Administration changed their playbook”.
“Even in the last few days the publicity machine has been in overdrive, painting a picture of cuts and reductions, but it’s the comments below these posts that matter, reﬂect our residents sentiment and they are not being fooled.”
Having outlined concerns of residents in view of the health & economic criss, Cllr Phil Marshall challenged “Why, having also declared a Poverty Emergency, is this budget set to hit all our communities with the maximum Council Tax increase?”
Cllr Marshall continued “I put it to this Administration that, if their conviction is so strong and that they really have no other option, as they claim - then why not lift this increase by a future 0.1% to trigger a referendum, state their case to our residents and let’s see if they are convinced?”
Cllr Sullivan closed his remarks by “calling on Council to reject this budget and to ask that Cabinet go away and come back with a new budget that eliminates the 1.99% increase in Council Tax”
The Conservative Group have this morning repeated their disappointed that the Labour Administration proceeded to vote their Budget through with the Independent, Green & LibDem Councillors at the unnecessary expense of residents.