As is traditional at the budget meeting, a certain amount of the debate is one side calling the other, which is not entirely productive when national issues are flagged, but it is a certain part of the process, and unfortunately this evening at least in my view (and from the reaction of others) at least one of the controlling group member went a little two far.
That said aside from that one little blip, the general content of the debate was good, and in contrast to previous years we were able to make the controlling group see sense and instead of imposing a charge on residents to call for ‘rats’ to be dealt with there was no charge introduced.
In general terms because of the size of the cuts from government the scope for changes to this years budget was limited and whilst there are a variety of elements that will need detailed and careful review as the year goes forward, if we had have being in control of the council we may well not have much room for alternatives.
That said, the net effect of the budget passed tonight means that there will be no change to the borough’s council tax, but there will be on average a 5.91 % rise in the cost of renting a council house, in line with the governments determination on rents.
Some of the other impacts of the budget passed tonight though will have a more concerning effect that at current (in my view at least) cannot be fully reviewed with the effects of increase to fees and charges, the 15.2% cuts to the management fee being paid to High Peak Community Housing being of particular concern.