Last Thursday was budget night for the Council and whilst the outcome was never in doubt, the Tories have an overall majority, the debate and opposition speeches is where you might get an overall picture of the frailties of the administration. In other dynamics, It was also worth noting the demise of Ukip, as their only Councillor, who doesn’t usually speak at full Council meetings, didn’t even bother to vote when called upon and this was noted by the Chief Exec as absent.
Virtual meetings like these play second fiddle to physical meetings, where tensions, passions and actually facing an audience, creates a charged atmosphere that just can not be emulated. Nevertheless the opinion of the Labour group was clear on the night and was encapsulated by speeches made by Leader of the Labour group Cllr Matthew Patrick (click here to read speech) and his deputy Cllr Karl Wilson (click here to read speech) and excellent speeches by the rest of the Labour group. All speeches are limited to five minutes as laid out in the Council constitution.
The Tories have not only raised Council tax by 4.98% this year, this is also planned into the next two years as well, the maximum allowed without a referendum, this confirms our suspicion that they say one thing and do another, having for years pretending to be against raising Council tax. Also included in this budget was the closure of 6 family hubs, recycling moving to monthly collections, they promised weekly collections, smaller Green Bins for new customers, and a reduction of funding to Navigo meaning they are to close the floral hall in Peoples park. On top of this they are reducing the budget to tackle ASB, Homelessness services and getting rid of bring-to recycling sites across the borough. The Tories are also returning to their fold as the nasty party, they are planning to extract as much money as they can from adults who require social care and have plans to raise council tax for the unemployed for the second time beyond the yearly rise.
The Tories spent most of the night celebrating the good things that are happening in the borough and telling us how great they are, however on close examination it is clear they are lording it (trying to claim them as their own) over Labours flagship policies, two years after we lost the election. The Great Grimsby Town Deal, Shipp, Cleethorpes regeneration just to name drop a few. But more subtly and it is amazing to see how incompetent they really are, time after time in the past they have made speeches against nationalisation and that the market economy is king and it will adjust itself for the benefit of all. Yet they are proud of the commercialisation of the Council, something started under Labour and is part of our core beliefs for the future funding streams of the council, and they simply do not understand that it is state owned business.Yet again they celebrate Labour policies which we are pleased to see.
After two years in charge it is now plain to see the controlling Tory administration lacks in ideas and policy, it wants to court the general public, yet not support the most vulnerable, They have no issues with saying one thing and doing another or indeed claiming success when it is not their own. This Budget was not a good budget, yet there has been very little press scrutiny which is a crying shame.