HYNDBURN’S budget proposals for the year ahead have now been approved after council leader Councillor Peter Britcliffe promised to maintain a “strong grip” on finances.
At last week’s full council meeting, members approved proposals to increase the borough’s council tax by 3.7 per cent.
The below inflation increase means, for example, Band A tax payers in Hyndburn will pay an extra £35.96 a year on their household bill.
At the meeting Councillor Britcliffe said that the Tory Party intends to take care of basics and keep down unproductive costs.
He said: “Good management of our assets means that we don’t spend people’s council taxes on accommodating staff in expensive buildings. It also means that we make a presumption in favour of selling land and buildings that would otherwise be expensive to maintain rather than clinging on to them for no good purpose.”
Although the opposition Party did not put forward an alternative budget, Councillor Jean Battle said that Labour would propose a much lower two per cent rise without cutting services.
She added: “Two per cent is a reasonable rate. I am disappointed we haven’t done a budget but we had no idea what you (Tories) were going to spend it on, you should have shared some information with us. Unfortunately, it has been a rather disappointing budget for us even though the money has been there for the people of Hyndburn.”
Hyndburn’s three Independent councillors Nick Collingridge, Dave Parkins and Malcolm Pritchard put forward a proposal of a four per cent rise.
Among their spending ideas, the three councillors suggested injecting some young blood into the council’s parks department with the employment of two full-time apprentices at a cost of £20,000.
Councillor Britcliffe said he believed it was obvious that the Tory budget proposals were the best for the borough.
He added: “I am the most amenable person in the world when it comes to budget. Your priorities are our priorities and if more of the councillors see the light and want to come over to our side, you will be more than welcome.”
Deputy leader of the council Councillor Brian Roberts said that Labour’s lack of budget proposals was a “cop out”.
He said: “It’s an easy solution to go along with our ideas. Weak, weak, weak.”
Councillor Jones said: “I think we are at a point much better than we were six years ago. We don’t need to play political gymnastics to win points.”
WHAT YOU WILL PAY
The overall change in council tax for 2008/09 is as follows with the total increase shown in brackets:
Band A £995.22 (£35.96);
Band B £1,161.09 (£41.96);
Band C £1,326.96 (£47.94);
Band D £1,492.83 (£53.95);
Band E £1,824.57 (£65.94);
Band F £2,156.31 (£77.92);
Band G . £2,488.05 (£89.91);
Band H £2,985.66 (£107.90).