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Conservative budget branded 'dull'

February 26, 2021 4:03 PM

Jeremy Hilton and policy planningGloucester City Council's budget has been branded "dull" as financially-stretched residents face paying more for services.

The ruling Conservatives saw their budget for the 2021/2022 financial year approved by a majority of councillors.

Gloucester City Council's share of the council tax bill will rise 2.4% next year.

A Liberal Democrat amendment to cancel the planned rise in city centre car parking charges was accepted by councillors.

But a proposal by the Lib Dems for a one-off freeze of the 2.4% council tax rise to recognise the financial difficulties many people in Gloucester are now facing due to the pandemic was rejected.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: "This is a dull budget from an exhausted administration.

"There is a need for a route and branch review of the council's finances so we can better use the resources we have to improve services. Hopefully, we can do that after the elections in May.

"The Liberal Democrats proposed using just under half of the £600,000 windfall from the chancellor that the city council has just received to do three things; freeze the council tax, freeze car park charges and freeze gardens waste collection fees.

"We are pleased that the administration agreed to accept our amendment to freeze the car park charges, but we are very disappointed that we were outvoted in our attempt to freeze the council tax and garden waste fees.

"Residents of Gloucester are to be punished with yet another council tax rise, it is going up by 2.4%, a rate greater than inflation which now stands at 0.9%.

"There was no need to hike taxes as the council could easily afford to freeze the council tax rate for this coming year and help out hard pressed Gloucester families."

Freezing council tax in 2021/22 would cost nearly £200,000 and would be funded partly from a recently received Government grant and by maintaining the council's working balances at £1.408 million.