Liberal Democrats have accused the Mayor and his Conservative Cabinet of losing control of the Council Budget.
Councillor Michael Headley said “This Budget is going to hit residents hard just as we’re all having to tighten our belts and it is a result of poor financial management by the Conservatives. We have been calling for them to put plans in place to get control of council spending for months and now we are seeing the predictable results: a record increase in Council Tax and an extra £56 million in borrowing. The Council Tax increase is the highest since the Conservatives were last in control of the now abolished County Council.
“When residents are facing huge increases in the cost of living, the Conservatives are heaping on more pressure. In cash terms the tax increase for residents is a whopping 75% more than the increase last year. And the extra £56 million in borrowing will mean £5 million more in debt payments every year – this means more cuts or increases in Council Tax in the future. This buy-now-pay-later Budget is not only a blow for residents now, but everyone will be paying for it for years to come.
“Despite all this, the Budget doesn’t even properly balance! The Conservatives are having to raid the reserves for £2.5 million to balance their own poorly put together Budget.
“This Budget is typical of the Conservatives’ short-term thinking: loading up the debt burden on future generations and then balancing the books on the back of hard-hit residents.”