The Conservative-controlled council for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has set council tax at 2.4% in its first budget – a full 1.5% below the 3.9% rate of inflation.
The previous LibDem administration had increased council tax by 25% in five years whilst leaving the authority with additional debts of £23m. RBWM Conservatives say they have a moral commitment to both low tax and first rate public services. Lead member for finance, Cllr David Hilton, said:
"This budget is good news for our residents. We have
delivered low tax, maintaining frontline services and in many cases
improved them. The Liberal Democrats don’t believe that you can cut tax
and improve service, but that’s only because they couldn’t do it
themselves. Our council tax will rise by less than inflation and less
than increases in state pensions making pensioners richer."
The LibDems quoted the Consumer Price Index in their reaction to the budget, rather than the more commonly used RPI. They also criticised the Conservatives for voting for a 91%
pay increase although the Conservatives say that this followed recommendations from an independent panel of experts and that they still have below-average allowances following the increase.
See below for a breakdown of the spending plans.
The Conservative Good News
- £500k for Charters School. £200k for Library, £80k for a ‘state of the art kitchen’, £200k for recreation centre.
- £900k for improved parking in Windsor, including removing unnecessary yellow lines.
- £2.3m to improve our parks.
- £200k for more CCTV, including better coverage in car parks.
- £25k to help fight drug abuse by buying an “itemiser” random testing machine to be used in bars and clubs.
to improve the infrastructure of our borough. Fairly split in between
the three communities: £4.4m in Maidenhead, £3.2m in Windsor and £500k
- £130k the saving to the taxpayer of undertaking our service review. Money will be spent on frontline services.
- £1.25k on improvements to our roads. Under the Liberal Democrats our roads were assessed as amongst the worst in the country.
- £750k on better street lighting. Making our street safer.
- £55k on 5000 free compost bins to improve recycling.
- £85k on 2 PSCO’s and 2 Community Wardens. Reducing the fear of crime; which is a significant problem.
- £150k to treble spending on footpaths.
- £100k on local road safety schemes to reduce accidents,
- £200k in improving Windsor Library.
- £120k on better disabled access across property owned by the council.
The Liberal Democrat Bad News:
Liberal Democrat Debt. Around £950 for every household in the borough.
Liberal Democrats recklessly ran up debt; Conservatives will pay it
the potential cost of destroying Eton Wick with an unpopular Park &
Ride. Liberal Democrats wanted to destroy our parkland and waste money;
Conservatives will solve parking without all this waste.
increase in council tax in just 4 years. Liberal Democrats don’t care
about families and pensioners who find it hard to pay; Conservatives
have a moral commitment to low tax and first rate public services.
- Services rated as “Adequate” in the Audit Commissions 2005 scoring.
- £500k they claimed they’d save on their new call centre. It didn’t save a single penny!