Opposition to pitch alternative budget for Southend

Ian Gilbert, Graham Longley and Martin Terry discuss the budget

Ian Gilbert, Graham Longley and Martin Terry discuss the budget

First published in Local News

SOUTHEND’S residents are being offered a different solution to the town’s budget conundrum - and this one will cost just four pence a week more.

Opposition councillors have put forward an alternative proposal to the Tories’ approach for 2013/14, which would see free black bin bags saved, children centres spared cuts and Southend’s pier kept open during the winter.

The plan has already been endorsed by Southend Council’s financial chiefs ahead of a crunch meeting tonight, meaning the final decision will come down to straight vote in the chamber between the two budgets.

And while the suggested changes by the Independent, Liberal Democrat and Labour member would largely be funded by an increased rise in council tax - from 1.75 per cent under the Tories’ proposals to 1.95 per cent - the difference would amount to just four pence a week for a Band D taxpayer.

Opposition councillors argued the rise would be well worth it.

Graham Longley, Lib Dem leader, said: “We are talking about a very small increase, but the money it creates can do quite a lot.”

Martin Terry, spokesman for the Independent group, added: “I believe most people would spend four pence a week to save the sort of things we are proposing.”

The opposition has put forward seven suggested amendments to the Tories’ budget ahead of tonight’s meeting, plus one additional spending scheme.

Its plans have been rubber-stamped by Southend Council’s financial gurus, meaning the final decision will come down to straight vote in the chamber between the two budgets.

The authority needs to cut £10million over the next financial year to stay in the black.

However, with most departments already trimmed of any fat or wastage, the Tories’ suggestions of slashing some front-line services to save that money angered many residents when they were unveiled last month.

Ian Gilbert, Labour leader, was adamant the cuts had gone too far.

He said: “I think we all feel there are some things here that people will really miss if they disappear.

“If we can stop that, then we must try.”

Comments (6)

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1:33pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Cosmo Spring says...

cut the pies and ale budget, fewer council bunfights
cut the pies and ale budget, fewer council bunfights Cosmo Spring
  • Score: 1

1:48pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Joe Wildman-Clark says...

Why leave it until the day of the vote to announce these amendment....
Why leave it until the day of the vote to announce these amendment.... Joe Wildman-Clark
  • Score: 3

9:56pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Little John says...

When you look at the rise of 4p per week which is £2.08 extra per year, it does not seem too much of a rise to keep the services such as black bags, childrens centres and the pier open. I'm happy to pay the additional amount. The cost to each household having to buy black bags alone if they were not supplied by SBC has to more than a couple of quid for a years supply. To be able to keep the pier and childrens centres open all year as well for the same couple of quid seems a no brainer to me. I hope the alternative budget gets the nod tonight.
When you look at the rise of 4p per week which is £2.08 extra per year, it does not seem too much of a rise to keep the services such as black bags, childrens centres and the pier open. I'm happy to pay the additional amount. The cost to each household having to buy black bags alone if they were not supplied by SBC has to more than a couple of quid for a years supply. To be able to keep the pier and childrens centres open all year as well for the same couple of quid seems a no brainer to me. I hope the alternative budget gets the nod tonight. Little John
  • Score: 2

12:06am Fri 1 Mar 13

jayman says...

once again Southend gets the type of politics that nowhere deserves. odd goings on with security at the civic centre, no clear or cohesive opposition and a ruling party of zombified 80's-esque Tories that couldn't organize a game of 'snap' with a full deck of cards in a room full of people..
once again Southend gets the type of politics that nowhere deserves. odd goings on with security at the civic centre, no clear or cohesive opposition and a ruling party of zombified 80's-esque Tories that couldn't organize a game of 'snap' with a full deck of cards in a room full of people.. jayman
  • Score: 0

11:03am Fri 1 Mar 13

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

jayman wrote:
once again Southend gets the type of politics that nowhere deserves. odd goings on with security at the civic centre, no clear or cohesive opposition and a ruling party of zombified 80's-esque Tories that couldn't organize a game of 'snap' with a full deck of cards in a room full of people..
Last night people protesting against the scrapping of the airshow were forced to strip to their underwear by council security. This left one woman sitting in her bra at the council meeting.

Disgusting heavy-handed tactics from Southend Borough Council. I'm ambivalent on whether the airshow happens or not, but in this country we have a right to dignity and peaceful protest.

It comes as no surprise to see Southend's undemocratically run Tory council resorting to such vile tactics.
[quote][p][bold]jayman[/bold] wrote: once again Southend gets the type of politics that nowhere deserves. odd goings on with security at the civic centre, no clear or cohesive opposition and a ruling party of zombified 80's-esque Tories that couldn't organize a game of 'snap' with a full deck of cards in a room full of people..[/p][/quote]Last night people protesting against the scrapping of the airshow were forced to strip to their underwear by council security. This left one woman sitting in her bra at the council meeting. Disgusting heavy-handed tactics from Southend Borough Council. I'm ambivalent on whether the airshow happens or not, but in this country we have a right to dignity and peaceful protest. It comes as no surprise to see Southend's undemocratically run Tory council resorting to such vile tactics. Shoebury_Cyclist
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Firestormgjc says...

No mention of where the cuts would be in the new budget though,
I assume there will be cuts as a 10M deficit being cleared by 4p a week would assume we have 4.8M council tax payers in the borough.


The 4P a week rise would , I assume, allow for the high profile cuts to be avoided , it will not address the deficit nor will it have any impact on the cuts which will actually affect people (job losses , benefit cuts etc etc)

Is just posturing , which to be honest is all they can do when the Central Government contribution cut is what is causing the problem
No mention of where the cuts would be in the new budget though, I assume there will be cuts as a 10M deficit being cleared by 4p a week would assume we have 4.8M council tax payers in the borough. The 4P a week rise would , I assume, allow for the high profile cuts to be avoided , it will not address the deficit nor will it have any impact on the cuts which will actually affect people (job losses , benefit cuts etc etc) Is just posturing , which to be honest is all they can do when the Central Government contribution cut is what is causing the problem Firestormgjc
  • Score: 0

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