Well, we tried to get some support for the beleaguered Children’s Centres. Tories voted us down, even those councillors from communities where the parishes or towns wanted to help their local children’s centers. It’s like they’ll help their own, not those in other areas of Vale.
The Liberal Democrats submitted a bid to set up a grants pot for the Vale’s Children’s Centres. We think the children’s centres provide vital community resource for early intervention for children under 5 and their families. So we re-submitted it as a motion to amend the budget to include £100,000 to help children’s centres who are working toward becoming self-sufficient. Please read more about it here (there are a couple of articles): http://cllrdebbyhallett.com/
Tories voted against our amendment. It’s sadly predictable. They are all for spending money on economic growth that no one wants, but have no time to spend on the people already living here who might need more support.
The budget includes a £5 per year council tax increase, or 4.3%. As far as I can tell, this is to make the budget balance, which councils are required to do.
To double check my assumption, I asked the Cabinet member for Finance, Cllr Robert Sharp, how he would answer the question of why he raised council tax. His reply, ‘To safeguard and maintain the excellent services provided for residents.’
As far as I’m concerned, it’s questionable whether we can really afford to spend £18.8m on a new leisure Centre in Wantage in these times of government austerity. Yes, you read that correctly: eighteen point 8 million pounds on a leisure centre for Wantage and Grove.
Here’s what I said about the children’s centres budget amendment at full council meeting: http://cllrdebbyhallett.com/2017/02/20/childrens-centres-grants-speech-to-council/
Here’s what I had to say about the overall budget: http://cllrdebbyhallett.com/2017/02/20/budget-201718-speech-to-council/