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Conservatives voted against budget proposals for 2017/18

March 2, 2017 11:08 PM
By Fran Wilson & Clive English

Last night at a Full Council meeting the Conservatives voted against budget proposals for 2017 / 18 Voting!, which included an agreed amendment to accept the Government' s offer to increase Planning charges, both of which earlier in the evening they had unanimously approved.

They appeared to make this about turn in a fit of pique because their own budget amendment had been rejected. This had suggested setting up a fund for accelerated enforcement action by raiding the Council's modest savings and taking £50,000 away from the budget of the museum.

While there is cross party agreement that significant improvements need to be made to Planning Enforcement the other Groups considered this was not the way to go about it. As Councillor Clive English, Vice Chairman of Planning Committee said,

"A long term sustainable way of funding enforcement is required not a short term fix secured by raiding other funds that are needed to pump prime long term improvements to the viability of the museum. "

His Lib Dem views were echoed by the Independents, Labour and UKIP councillors.

Even members of the Tory back bench were astounded when their leader voted against the budget she had earlier in the evening voted for. As a result some of the Conservative councillors did not vote with their leader, however the majority followed her like lemmings.

Were it not for the combined efforts of the Lib Dems and the three smaller groups, the Council would have been left in the ridiculous position not only of having no agreed budget for 2017/18 but also having to refuse the Governments offer of giving the Borough the ability to lever more funding into the Planning Department - the very thing the Tories had earlier said they wanted to achieve!