|Council Tax Freeze But Services Cut|
Ealing's 2015 budget slammed by opposition
Ealing has frozen the council tax for another year but has been slammed by opposition for producing a 'unfair, unjust and outright self-serving budget.'
Councillors attended full council yesterday ( Tuesday, 24 February) and heard that council tax would stay at 2008 levels - for the seventh year running.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: “I am really pleased that, despite the bleakest financial period in our history, we have yet again been able to freeze council tax. While other household bills have soared, council tax has remained unchanged for seven years.
“We know that many local people have experienced tough times and many will have had low or no wage rises over the same period. This is why the freeze is both fair and sensible.”
The council has to reduce its budget by £96million by April 2019, and many local services will be stopped or changed including closures of several day centres inluding Carlton Road and the Solace centre.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm said:
“Labour have pulled the trigger on those with mental conditions or are severely physically disabled day centre users. Liberal Democrats have over the past six months worked tirelessly to put together proposals that the Council’s Top Finance officers said were workable in terms of saving the two day centres. They have been hell bent on closing these vital centres which will mean users have a far worse future.”
Cllr Greg Stafford, Opposition Group Leader said that the budget had “zero credibility” as it ignored the Administration’s own guiding principles to protect the elderly, vulnerable and frontline services.
''Residents will be horrified to know that whilst Labour was happy to raid the Council coffers to award themselves a pay increase they did not strive to keep a number of essential services open.
''Another two day centres for people with mental health and severe physical disabilities are to be closed on top of the three previously closed by Labour.
''A number of other key front line services are also being slashed including a whopping £6.5m from the Public Health grant which funds programs such as school nurses, child protection and sexual health clinics.
''For Labour to cut these services whilst rewarding themselves, protecting the trade unions and management is incredulous. Management savings accounts for only 2.1% of the cuts compared to the 75% coming from efficiencies, services changes and transfer of funding.
''This is truly an unfair, unjust and outright self-serving budget.”
25th February 2015