Councillor Nigel Dugmore speaks out against the 4.99% rise in the council budget he says, "After the Labour Government left the country broke it took ten years of austerity to repair the finances, enabling us to be so well placed to cope with the pandemic.
Telford and Wrekin Council has received over £20 million to help with the financial impact on the Council, and there is more to come.
Yesterday’s government budget was clear in that support for the most vulnerable would continue until the lockdown was eased and the economy could start the long road to recovery. This stance was even endorsed by the Labour Leader in his broadcast last night.
Nationally politicians on all sides agree that now is not the time to increase financial pressures on individuals while the pandemic is still with us.
This Labour administration has chosen to hit residents with an immediate 4.99% increase. A kick in the teeth to those hard-pressed residents that have managed to negotiate their finances through the impact of the pandemic and a killer punch to those that have not. Many have had to take advantage of the support services provided to make ends meet.
A Labour Council that chooses to hit the poorest hardest.
Protect, Care and Invest?
This administration is not protecting residents from the financial impact of the pandemic, this administration does not care for people struggling to make ends meet, this administration invests in financial misery for residents.
We agree that a 3.0% increase for social care is necessary, however this administration could have phased it over two years to ease the impact on residents while we come out of lockdown.
Unlike other authorities, this administration has chosen to increase council tax by the full 1.99%. Shropshire went for a 1% increase and some authorities went for no increase at all by using reserves. As we have such a low council tax, a legacy of when the Council was Conservative controlled, the impact on the reserves would be relatively small.
This budget will raise the level of borrowing to more than £450m, with the future of interest rates uncertain due to the effects of the pandemic I have increasing concern regarding future repayments".