Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Round-Up: Totting Up The Budget

Reading's LibDems appear to be the victors in the political finance debate after forcing the ruling Labour group to submit to their demands, while the main opposition Conservative group was shown to be ineffectual and was reduced to issuing a protest motion.

Redlands LibDems and Katesgrove LibDems provide the substantive information of the changes they introduced.

-These include the overall measures:
i)Reducing tax increases as far as legally permitted according to central government 'economic competence' regulations.
ii)Ensuring the Council's overdraft isn't over-extended during the economic downturn by replenishing reserves.

Oranjepan says:
It is interesting that Conservative Party leader David Cameron's advice to "fix the roof while the sun shines" in his response during the national Budget debate is at odds with his party message at local level.

i)A freeze on councillors' allowances and reduction on 'refreshments' at council meetings
ii)£200,000 cut in council marketing and PR, as well as a reduction in excessive fees and costs due to management, consultants and agency staffing
iii)A cross-party budget review group to identify further waste.

Oranjepan says:
It is interesting that Conservatives voted against all these measures, despite a lot of noise about the issues of over-inflated wages (from group strategist Cllr Willis) and 'a performance improvement programme' (from group leader Cllr Cumpsty). They obviously want extra perks for themselves, but not for anyone else.

-And the 'targetted' measures:
i)Reducing charges for bulky waste collection for low income households
ii)A “Green Hit Squad” to tackle fly tipping
iii)A communications budget for the local police Neighbourhood Action Groups (NAG) - for the setting of local policing priorities according to resident's concerns
iv)More speed guns for the police – to catch drivers who break the law (instead of the eyesore fixed cameras designed to raise revenue but are not accepted as court evidence and indiscriminately invade everyone's civil liberties).

Oranjepan says:
Again, it is interesting that the Conservatives failed to support these measures despite using them as campaigning issues (see here and here).


As Cllr Warren Swaine says on his personal site:
"...any neutral observer of the process would have to conclude that there was anything other than a pact as Labour were dragged kicking and screaming to support the Lib Dem budget amendments.

It's a verifiable fact that since this council went to no overall control last May, the Conservatives have constantly voted with the Labour party and against the Lib Dems. They are the real party in bed with Labour".

Here is the text of the Conservative motion proposed by Cllr Mark Ralph:
'To recognise that any increase in Council Tax will present real difficulties to those reliant on savings impacted by low interest rates, those on low and fixed incomes and to some of our more vulnerable residents.
To commit to fully explore the help available to alleviate hardship that is likely to result and communicate this to residents of the Borough before demands for payment are made'


  1. I can't begin to explain what is incorrect in this blog post.

  2. No I can't, I don't have all day to explain.

  3. I see, but you have had enough time to visit 9 times today and post comments saying how much time you don't have...

  4. 'Ensuring the Council's overdraft isn't over-extended during the economic downturn by replenishing reserves.'


    'a reduction in excessive fees and costs due to management, consultants and agency staffing'

    are just so much meaningless twaddle - can you politicians not speak English? What does it all mean? George Orwell would be proud!


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