Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Liberal Democrats Reject Council Tax Cut

Last night, Sutton Council’s Liberal Democrat establishment rejected our fully-costed plans to cut the council tax by nearly 2% this year, and to freeze the tax for three years in a row thereafter. In a stunning act of arrogance one longstanding Liberal Democrat councillor said it was “a privilege to pay council tax” in an embarrassing outburst.

Above, you can read the budget response given by the Conservatives’ Finance and Value for Money Spokesman, Councillor Tim Crowley as he presented a costed Alternative Budget with details to cut the council tax by 1.75% and to provide a raft of new ground-breaking proposals.

Among the new positive proposals in the Alternative Budget were plans for a rewards scheme to pay residents for the amount of waste they recycle, an Armed Forces council tax discount of 50% and a new priority card for Sutton residents providing discounts in local shops and businesses, plus preferential rates for council services such as leisure centres, parking and theatres.

The Liberal Democrats’ budget provision for a council tax freeze was described as an election ploy after years of punishing above inflation increases. But an extraordinary outburst from Wallington Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Bailey left the Council’s leadership team red-faced when he described the payment of council tax as a “privilege”.

Councillor Crowley outlined savings which included reductions in the Council’s reliance on outside consultants, streamlining communications work, making Sutton Scene magazine entirely self-funding, and a freeze in additional staff recruitment with net savings of £1.472m – the same amount needed to cut council tax by 1.75%.

Commenting Tim Crowley said: “When the Liberal Democrats voted against our Budget they voted against a cut in council tax, against increased investment in training for adult social services, against a residents’ priority card for services and shops, and against a 50% discount for British soldiers on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We know what they are against but what are they for? Our Budget provides positive plans to put more money in residents’ pockets and to roll out a range of new popular proposals. It’s a shame that the Liberal Democrats could not put residents first and politics second to vote for this forward-thinking budget.”


john said...

how the f*ck did they vote against an armed forces discount!!!

bloody liberals don't they give a rats arse about our servicemen?

Tisiphone said...

Wow! That speech was a blinder! Well done Tim Crowley!

Anonymous said...

If the Council could afford to cut council tax by one and three quarters - why and how could any council member voter against this?

I like the sound of paying people to recycle. Personally, I like to recycle and have done so for years but I think it will give an extra incentive to get more people to do so.

Could you tell me more about these consult costs please, Paul? They sound very costly.

Anonymous said...

John - the LibDems DO care about our servicemen.

Unlike the Conservatives and the Labour government the Liberal Democrats were the only major party to oppose sending our troops to an illegal war in Iraq.

On the council meeting in discussion here (on this post) I was there in the public gallery and the Conservative voice was beyond reproach in not voicing their support to also recognise our troops that died in many wars including but not limited to Northern Ireland, Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan and in every other country around the world where our troops have died fighting for freedom and represented our country.

The conservatives and their supporters in the gallery attitude limited recognition to only the first and second world wars on the memorial in question, in my opinion this was the clearest and worst kind of elctioneering that I have seen at a local level.

Residents come first but only in a fair manner respecting all points of view.

And finally... on the budget.. If a sensible and responsible budget had been put forward that could be backed up with good maths then maybe it might have been accepted...

Cllr Tim Crowley said...

Anonymous this is just another attempt by your party to smear and slur anything we try and do.
If you were in the audience that night you will know that the motion was to do with those from the 2nd world war not on the memorials.
Cllr Kennedy did refer to those not on the memorial from the 1st World War who were commemorated in the boroughs cemeteries and also those from other conflicts.
A large number of your party probably wouldnt have an army at all if they had their way.
Secondly on the basic maths argument for the budget you really need to do your research a bit better.
Our budget was put together with figures and help from the boroughs own finance dept.
So if you argue against our maths you are also arguing against the very dept that also put together the administrations budget.
You cant have it both ways.

David B, CB said...

"And finally... on the budget.. If a sensible and responsible budget had been put forward that could be backed up with good maths then maybe it might have been accepted..."

What a load of tosh. Irrespective of Tim C's explanations about how the figures were arrived at, do you honestly believe that the LibDem council would REALLY turn around and say, "Yes Tim, your budget is better than ours", and implement it?

Tim's budget (with some very minor issues in my view but which actually are de minimis in the overall scheme) was based on fairly sensible choices and decisions on where to make savings. These decisions cannot in any way be deemed irresponsible - they are political and practical choices of where to make savings. Or are you in favour of overspending when it's not necessary as a matter of LibDem policy? Like Richard Bailey, you appear to think that spending as much as possible is a good thing.

To back your statements, please deconstruct Tim's documents and make your points as to why his propositions are not responsible.

Otherwise, I can only enquire what planet are you on - and hope you sent in your postal vote very early.