MENDIP TORIES STEAMROLL BUDGET TALKS

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By MendipLibDems | Monday, February 20, 2012, 17:26

Cllr Sue Cook (LD, Shepton West) was among opposition councillors calling for changes to the Conservative Budget at Mendip Full Council last week. Calls from the Liberal Democrats to work with local businesses to create apprenticeships, as well as policies targetted at revitalising our high streets were all proposals brushed aside by the Conservative Administration in what became a very heated meeting. 

The amendments, presented by Cllr Richard Pinnock (Frome, Keyford) included measures to tackle youth unemployment and rural isolation as well as a scheme involving renewable energies to help the authority become more financially sustainable. Cllr Pinnock called on the administration to go further and have more vision in tackling Rural Isolation - something affecting many people across a very rural district. 'The problem with the Conservative's budget put forward this year, was that it just didn't go far enough. Mendip needs to work creatively to really make a difference - even in times of economic hardship.'

In an unexpected move, Conservative Councillors attempted to block all amendments made by the opposition and even ended the meeting for a short time to regroup. Leader of the Mendip Liberal Democrats, Cllr Claire Hudson (Frome, Park) said 'It wouldn't make any difference if we put forward a budget exactly the same as the Conservatives, they'd still vote it down, because they can't bring themselves to work with us - even in the interest of the district.' Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Hudson continued 'Our amendments were entirely constructive, and were based on concerns we've heard from residents - it's sad that the Tories clearly didn't see it that way.'

      

Comments

       
  • Profile image for johnp2010

    The Lib Dems showed their usual incompetence and ignorance in objecting to a 1% local project allowance from the new homes bonus, and demanding 5%, what they failed to understand is that the 1% was on top of 40% that we had allocated for local legacy projects. These projects have yet to be worked up yet, but the funding is now allocated. As a responsible authority we decide on how much we can afford and then work within the budget. The Liberals have proved many times over that they decide what they would like without any thought to how they pay for it, hence the £350 million in debt that they saddled the county council with when they held the purse strings.

    As for the arts funding, the organisations that got the bulk of the money didn't really need it, they could easily cover the shortfall by increasing ticket prices by less than 50p, I see no reason why the arts should be treated any differently to any other local organisations like sports clubs. You wouldn't be happy to subsidise my golf green fees, so why should I subsidise someone who wants to prance around on stage. If more "arts" groups put on productions that people want to see, rather than what the "artistes" want to perform, you never know they might even make a profit, ask Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, they did ok out of it!

    By johnp2010 at 13:44 on 26/02/12

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  • Profile image for aomboyden

    I was disappointed to witness the decisions by Mendip's Conservatives to vote to reject two specific proposals by Lib Dem councillors, at Mendips' recent Full Council meeting, the same meeting that discussed the Council Tax for this year.

    We proposed that (1) more of the Government's New Homes Bonus funding for the Council should be spent on local projects to enhance communities and their environments. This would help local areas cope better with the impacts of new housing development, and so we think more should be allocated locally for that very purpose. However I do hope to see that they will indeed be 'flexible' and increase the actual amount of funding for local projects in the end, including from a number of as yet unknown 'Legacy' projects.

    We also proposed (2) the restoration of an Arts budget, to assist community arts facilities once again, as we feel people in Mendip and Somerset do see the value of a creative sector of the economy and the arts in our communities, but both Mendip and Somerset Councils abolished such funding in 2011 (something even Mendip's Conservative Leader said should have been better coordinated).
    Neither proposal would have increased Council Tax, but the Conservatives still refused to vote for them. We welcomed the move by Mendip to avoid increasing its Council Tax and to avoid any redundancies of hard working officers this year.

    Cllr Adam Boyden, Lib Dem Shadow Portfolio Holder for Governance, Assets and Public Spaces, Mendip District Council
    adamboyden.mycouncillor.org.uk

    By aomboyden at 00:23 on 26/02/12

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  • Profile image for AndrewRain

    Surely the art of opposition is to oppose in a manner that has some credence. Uncosted proposals make about as much sense as a tory complaining about bus cuts/hospital bed reductions and lack of railways in Shepton.

    As a matter of interest how does the pv programme work? I may just know of a few public (almost missed the 'l') buildings that could benefit from these. It may also do something about the attitude of MDC planners if it was MDC policy!!

    By AndrewRain at 16:54 on 23/02/12

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  • Profile image for johnp2010

    The point is that this "alternative budget" was produced in usual Lib Dem style, at the last minute, measures not costed, impact assessment not thought through.

    In addition, they claimed a number of "new" initiatives eg Revemped website, use of social networking, feeder units for hi-tec businesses, a program for installing photovoltaics on village halls, etc etc that are either already in progress, or form part of the corporate plan that has only recently been through both cabinet and scrutiny committee's.

    If the Lib Dems bothered to turn up at meetings they might even have some idea as to what is going on, instead in their usual duplicitous style they try to claim the credit for our plans.

    Our budget freezes council tax for the 3rd year in a row, maintains services for those that need them most, and because we took the tough decisions when needed, there will be no further redundancies at the council this year.

    The Lib Dem opposition at Mendip have no ideas worth mentioning, little in the way of dedication, just a desire to play silly political games. The people that vote for them deserve much more.

    By johnp2010 at 16:37 on 23/02/12

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  • Profile image for AndrewRain

    It may help us to know what the actual amendments were and how much they would have cost. There is a need to look at such issues. However, we also have to bear in mind the bribe offered to councils by the government (and last time I looked the Lib Dems claimed to be part of it) to keep a council tax increase to zero. The same cap did not apply to parish councils and I have to say that the argument for youth work or a CCTV system was not well handled by those in favour of youth work. It should have been possible to argue for both and had an extravagent increase of almost 5p per week. If it is the view of both Lib Dems and Tories that people cannot afford 5p per week can we please look at national economic policies for something is wrong if this is the case.

    By AndrewRain at 09:47 on 21/02/12

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