At Bury’s recent ‘Budget Council’ Meeting the proposals from the majority Labour Group were voted through, which is a Council Tax increase from 1 April 2016 of 4.94%. Your Bury Liberal Democrat councillors voted against this budget.
The increase is made up of a basic increase of 1.94%, plus a further 3% ‘social care levy’. Bury has opted to ‘front load’; the Social Care Levy increases, so although this wasn’t announced at the meeting, we can expect a further increase of 4.94% the year after, and 1.94% in 2019/20. This means Bury’s Council Tax will rise by almost 12.5% over the next three years.
When the Police Authority and Fire Authority charges are taking into account the actual rise for a Band D property will go up about £72 from April. A full list of the new Council Tax band rates is below.
One piece of good news is that an extra £10 million is to be invested in roads and highways over the next three years. The Council will borrow the money, paid back from the savings it makes from not having to make so many road repairs. Just how far £10 million will stretch remains to be seen – Lib Dem-run Stockport borrowed £100m a few years ago which has enabled them to resurface about 1/3 of their roads – so I think we can all see that £10m isn’t going to do everywhere in across the whole of Bury.
The three-year budget sees ‘cuts’ of over £30 million pounds in almost every area of Council work following the relentless reduction in money that Councils get from the Government. We are very concerned that not enough detail is being given to members of the public about what these cuts will mean – what services will be cut, what jobs will be lost – and it would be better to be ‘up front’ about what the savings mean.
What did the Liberal Democrat councillors do?
The Liberal Democrat Group voted against the budget. Although we recognise that so much money has to be saved, we felt that we couldn’t vote for £30 million of cuts when we didn’t know what they would mean to ordinary people.
We did propose changes to the budget:
– More money to help keep some of the smaller libraries open using volunteers.
– More money to help clear up fly-tipping.
– Money to provide for additional parking enforcement around schools.
These proposals were unfortunately voted against by the majority Labour Group.
Council Tax for 2017/18 is:
Band A – £1,096.26
Band B – £1,278.98
Band C – £1,461.69
Band D – £1,644.41
Band E – £2,009.83
Band F – £2,375.26
Band G – £2,740.67
Band H – £3,288.81