At this week’s public meeting of the Council, Kingston councillors approved the Liberal Democrat’s proposed budget for 2009-10. Council Tax was set at an increase of 3.2% - the lowest tax rise in Kingston for 15 years and lower than neighbouring areas of South West London.
Kingston has received the worst financial settlement grant from Government in years. The current financial crisis also means that local authority income is down at the very time when demands on council services are increasing.
Through the One Council programme of streamlining and better targeting services we have achieved Kingston’s lowest council tax increase for the best part of a generation, without harming the front line services on which residents rely.
Conservative members on the Council offered no alternative to the Liberal Democrat’s budget, only suggesting an amendment to cut £50,000 worth of spending from vital road repairs.
The level of debate at this evening’s meeting of the Council demonstrated an inept opposition party. Our Tory colleagues’ only proposal was to slash funding for road repairs – just after the borough has experienced the heaviest snow in over a decade.
This Administration is committed to mending the significant damage done to roadways after an extraordinarily cold winter - whereas the Tories want to sacrifice repairs for a reduction to council tax of less than £1 per household for the whole year.
The Conservative amendment to budget proposals was rejected by the Full Council.