Council Meeting 22nd February 2005
Yesterday's council meeting had two main items of business:
- The Council Plan - a summary of what the council is trying to do.
- The Budget - next years planned finances including a Council Tax increase of 2.8%,
The behaviour of the Labour Party was unusual. They said that they had no proposed changes to our Council Plan. They also called for a Council Tax increase of only 1.5%. Their calculations involved taking £3,642,000 out of the "rainy day" accounts (contingencies, balances, reserves) which is risky as it makes it harder for the council to cope with unpredicted issues.
At the end of the meeting they refused to vote on the budget. Why they would not press the "abstain budget" is not clear. It is as if they all walked out.
However, the budget has now been set. It involves an increase from £301,096,000 to £345,363,000 on Social Care which is £44,267,000. It involves using the fourth option for housing and resolves a number of other matters.
Labour's budget amendment indicated that they supported precisely everything that we were doing, but they wanted to take £1,566,000 out of unallocated policy contingency, £780,000 from carried forward balances (departmental reserves) and £1,296,000 from Earmarked Reserves.
The problem with such a change is that all it does is a one-off change of a capital nature to a revenue account. It is not sustainable and means that the next year's budget already has a hole in the revenue accounts (because it cannot be found every year).
Net Expenditure Figures Revenue Budget (in millions)
|Housing General Fund||34.321||39.282|
|Leisure Sport Culture||41.306||45.043|
|Local Services/Community Safety||4.056||4.637|
|Social Care and Health||301.096||345.363|
|Transport and Street Services||84.314||90.026|
|Development Control Committee||2.825||2.880|
|Public Protection Committee||13.366||12.304|
|District and Constituency Committees||99.456||97.382|
|Procurement PEP Savings||0||(6.800)|