OPEN YOUR WALLETS AS 4.99% COUNCIL TAX RISE CONFIRMED

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The budget proposals put forward by County Hall’s Conservative administration have this evening (Wednesday) been approved by Full Council, with 3 alternative budgets shot down.

The decision means that Island households will now have to fork out 4.99% more in council tax from April, on top of the precept rises such as the 7.4% Police precept rise.

As well as a rise in Council Tax, motorists will have to pay 100% more from overnight parking from October – increasing from £1 to £2 – and bereaved families face a 7% increase in cremation fees.

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Dinosaur Isle will run to reduced opening hours and the Lord Louis Library in Newport will close for an extra day a week. The mobile library service will be scrapped.

Conservatives say the focus of the budget is to ensure a financially sustainable position for the local authority, underpinned by three important priorities: ensuring that the Council is able to continue keeping the Island’s community safe; to create an environment and financial plan to deliver the economic recovery the Island needs and to continue towards achieving the Council’s vision of the Island being an inspirational place in which to grow up, live, work and visit.

However, many will likely argue that forcing Islanders to pay yet more money at a time when they simply don’t have the spare cash is not helping the Island become a place to live or work.

The Liberal Democrats have declared the budget ‘cruel’ and many have commented on social media saying that this latest move may just cost the Conservatives their seats in May’s local elections.

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Councillor Dave Stewart, Isle of Wight Council leader, has said:

“This is the fifth budget that this Conservative administration has delivered since that time just over four years ago when the then leadership of the independent administration walked out on the Island, without warning, claiming that they could not set a lawful and balanced budget.

“With no strategy in place – and reserves depleted – we immediately had to pull a budget plan together and take steps to get the local authority’s finances back to a healthy position. That has now been achieved, and the budget approved this evening confirms the responsible approach we have taken.

“In contrast, we have seen alternative budget proposals with headline-grabbing ideas such as restoring ‘dotto trains’, rather instead of focusing on how to keep our community safe. Other proposals have suggested raiding reserves, which would leave them at a dangerously low level.

“The council tax rise of 4.99% – which Liberal Democrat and Independent alternatives also supported – generates additional income of just £4.4m. Whilst it is not sufficient to cover all additional costs on its own, it is necessary in order that we can meet our social care responsibilities (and 3% of the increase relates specifically to those).

Council Leader Cllr Dave Stewart with an electric car. The Council will start to invest in an electric fleet, but at a cost…

“This budget ensures that the books are balanced with a sustainable financial plan that deals with the challenges we face now and provides a Medium-Term Financial Strategy to meet the requirements of tomorrow. This secure the Council’s long-term financial future.

“This budget also provides much-needed assistance for our community, including a Covid Support Fund of over £14million to protect people against the worst impacts of Covid and to help address important priorities such as Long Covid, Mental Wellbeing and ongoing business support.

“The budget also means we are able to continue important investment into our Transformation Programmes – which is making a real difference.

“By 2024 the Council will have no outstanding budget deficit to cover. This means that we will be well placed to further support a growing economy, whilst at the same time continuing to keep our community safe. This is in contrast to the unmet £7.5m savings target that we inherited from the independents in February 2017 when they walked out.

“This budget also secures general reserves at over £8 million. These are essential when we are faced with responding effectively to something as huge as a pandemic – which we have been able to do.

“This is the prudent management of the Council’s budget in action. Such sound management is needed for a sustainable financial future.”

Tonight’s approval of the Budget includes plans to spend £550,000 on air conditioning and data centre upgrades, £300,000 on 2 sets of average speed cameras and £30,000 on buoys for Sandown Bay – things that Islanders have said could simply wait.

Commenting on the Capital investment, Cllr Stewart has said:

“The budget will also see us invest £9.6 million from our capital resources, to help leverage in a further £46.5 million of external funding. This will result in £56 million of capital being invested in the Island’s future.

“This figure includes over £40 million invested in coastal protection, £6.4 million invested in our schools, £2.9 million invested in affordable housing (and a new Biosphere Centre) – and a further £1.3 million in highway improvements (including investment in sustainable transport).

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
59 Comments
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John
John
1 month ago

What a shocking budget for everyone!
Everyone knows who not to Vote Next Election

Sunshine
Sunshine
Reply to  John
1 month ago

Vote for the GREEN party. Probably the best choice out of the bunch. At least they care about the countryside, the environment and wildlife. Maybe could reduce the number of building projects planned for the island too.

Truth
Truth
Reply to  Sunshine
1 month ago

You agree with our money being spent on electronic cars then? But nothing too encuridg investment in our disastrous high street’s..

Parking fines and expensive parking charges don’t help people that would like to support our high street’s, business rates also damage investment in high street’s that could provide jobs and cut down unemployment..

Like the council, you have no idea how to rebuild our nations economy, however, I bet you consume everything you protest about…

Ron
Ron
Reply to  Truth
1 month ago

Forget the high street we do not need them anymore move on.

Truth
Truth
Reply to  Ron
1 month ago

They provide jobs, and there part of whats left of our native culture…

You move on if you want too, but leave the rest of us to enjoy our way of life..

mark burgess
mark burgess
Reply to  Truth
1 month ago

Only culture left on the Island I grew up on and loved is the drug culture.

Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
Reply to  Sunshine
1 month ago

And have the Island destroyed by windmills. No thanks.

Banner
Banner
1 month ago

300k for speed cameras. They must be nuts

Banner
Banner
Reply to  Banner
1 month ago

With all the signage they have to put up by law to warm us of this…trap, they have just destroyed on of the UK most scenic coastal roads.
Talk about feathering your own nest.
I can’t understand the mentality of these clowns.
PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY FOR THIS INCREASE.

Mr Sands
Mr Sands
1 month ago

What a bunch of ankers.
YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IN MAY, VOTE THESE INCOMPETENT BLOODSUCKERS OUT!!
Tell them to stick there 300k (Probably fake) speed cameras, they can take there sneaky roundabout plans and shove it up with that massive white floating turd across the Medina too.

Wasp Star
Wasp Star
Reply to  Mr Sands
1 month ago

Oh please! Most Islanders would vote for a dog poo if it was wearing a blue rosette.

Mr Sands
Mr Sands
Reply to  Wasp Star
1 month ago

HOPEFULLY most islanders would now open there eyes and see the truth. HOPEFULLY a team of more competent people will be voted in May. Do the right thing for the Island, vote these money snatching creeps out!

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
1 month ago

How much for the fleet of electric cars for them to run around in?
No wonder he’s grinning like a Cheshire cat (Dave Stewart ).
How much will we all save him as he claims expenses to run the cars ? .
Not to mention the speed cameras one big joke !!!!!!

John
John
Reply to  Miss sensible
1 month ago

Vote him out at Next Election

Lord lucan
Lord lucan
Reply to  Miss sensible
1 month ago

Why can’t they buy there own cars we all do.

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
Reply to  Lord lucan
1 month ago

Don’t ask me , I am not a greedy Councillor,.
I suppose the excuse will be the environment oh look we are being green !!!!!! Well get a ruddy pushbike.
Oh no sorry a bike wouldn’t waste so much of our money would it .

david
david
Reply to  Miss sensible
1 month ago

i am afraid we get the councillors we deserve

fedup
fedup
1 month ago

Come the elections in May the only thing I will vote for will be the appointment of an admisistration to run this island. Otherwise the paper will goin the shredder.

Noodles
Noodles
1 month ago

Pirates, bloody lot of them ,money grabbing arse holes, the speed ,wjy they kept the floatie thing i dont know ,incase of buying speed cameras, surely that money could by a bridge ,all wehere is cuts cuts cuts ,bloody joke

Despondant
Despondant
1 month ago

£550,000 on air conditioning ???

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
Reply to  Despondant
1 month ago

I don’t know why they don’t use the traditional air conditioning open the windows, save us all a fortune.

fedup
fedup
Reply to  Despondant
1 month ago

Absolute disgrace and totally unacceptable. What vabout all the honest and hard working people trying hard to afford their own homes, and all these bafoons can do is spend over half million quid feathering their nest. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Glad that I am NOT one of you.

Miss sensible
Miss sensible
1 month ago

Just a thought ,would it not be a good idea for all you Councillors to help balance the books by not using our council tax for your pension pot ,we get cuts and you get fat pensions how can you justify that ?????
Also are we paying for your charging points for your new fleet of very expensive electric cars .
Honest answers only !!!!!!
I wait with baited breath !!!!!

Helen Highwater
Helen Highwater
Reply to  Miss sensible
1 month ago

Miss not-so-sensible: Councillors are not paid salaries so they have no pensions. They can (and most but not all do) claim allowances and expenses.
Council officials, however, are a different kettle of fish. Not only an excessive salary (in IW terms, certainly) but a very generous pension provision and, for the upper crust, usually a Golden Handshake to die for. Incidentally, everyone’s favourite Prime Minister has just abandoned the £92K limit he had promised to put on golden handshakes – trebles all round!

nick
nick
1 month ago

Even Dick Turpin wore a mask! SHOCKING!!

Get the tori’s out!!!!!!!!
Get the tori’s out!!!!!!!!
1 month ago

Or just don’t pay it. The tori’s should be arrested and imprisoned for gross negligence abuse of position and social cleansing.

Pcw
Pcw
1 month ago

Bunch of Criminals committing enforced legalised robbery!!!
At least Dick Turpin only stole from the rich!!!

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Pay more and get less, the Tory way.

John
John
Reply to  Tom
1 month ago

Tories will never be any good

Bansko
Bansko
1 month ago

“Crual” – hmm – someone needs to spell check these ground-breaking articles!!

Tim C
Tim C
1 month ago

Well I’m glad the council are doing well as the people struggle. Shove your stupid speed cameras up you bum along with your air conditioning, buoys, your rises, and all the other stealth rises by the name of precepts.
The people have had enough quite clearly.
I for one will be voting you robbing morons out of there and further to that, I would even join a protest against your stupid budget.

Lady Dunstanding
Lady Dunstanding
1 month ago

What an absolute shock, I am sure. Still, the lack of services won’t bother the people the council really care about as they don’t use community services. Mainly because they don’t effing live here. Pay a bit of insurance, I mean council tax, and you have a bolt hole or three in dangerous times. In more pleasant times you can lord it over the locals and don’t have to try to blend in. After April you can go back to being as arrogant as you like, as it’s legal then.

Sunshine
Sunshine
1 month ago

Because they waste so much money it was inevitable C Tax was going to go up. They are a disgrace, vote the Tories out. It’s all about money, they don’t care about the island and it’s residents. They did nothing to stop us going from Tier 1 to Tier 4 last year. Millions wasted on the Floating, non working bridge. Vote them out in May. Vote for the GREEN candidates.

Old school.
Old school.
1 month ago

Next on the agenda, approving themselves another sodding payrise !

Rebel
Rebel
1 month ago

Do you people really think, that voting others in will change anything? Tory,labour, whoever? They are all pigs at the troff, out for themselves I’m afraid. The system needs an overhaul.

Noodles
Noodles
1 month ago

I wander if the councillors read comments on here, oh wait that probably makes them laugh,on our expences longs they are ok ,they dont care, enjoy your pay rises and pensions

Wightman
Wightman
1 month ago

Why the whinging,surely everyone has had at least a 5 per cent pay rise to help with the reduced services that this crooked Tory council are not supplying,at least us islanders can rest easy that our hard working Tory boys will be kept cool in their plush offices with their new 500,000 pound air conditioning which is obviously a priority.
New electric cars to swan around in as ,another necessity.
You get what you vote for,so vote them out.

Lee
Lee
1 month ago

Absolutely horrific, talk about kicking people when their all ready down. I bet within a few weeks they will be awarding themselves a pay rise. Time to protest make our feelings known. Daylight robbery!!

On my way out
On my way out
1 month ago

Don’t be silly the green scooters that fly around. So the big old van that sorts out the batteries on a day to day. How is that powered. Whoops diesel. Get real stop playing at it. Isle of Wight council.

Grumpy Old Git
Grumpy Old Git
Reply to  On my way out
1 month ago

Thank you for solving a problem. I wondered how those little green menaces were recharged. Never actually seen one on the roads yet, only on the pavements driven by people too young to have a driving licence.

On my way out
On my way out
Reply to  Grumpy Old Git
1 month ago

Ok I am a postman and I see a lot. Believe me that van parks on pavements. Double yellow lines the lot. And what is the council trying to prevent. Well say no more.

Gullible Islander
Gullible Islander
Reply to  On my way out
1 month ago

And Post office vans never park on pavements and double yellows ever?

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Gullible Islander
1 month ago

Post vans are providing a valuable service to everyone scooters aren’t!

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Gullible Islander
1 month ago

Also they park there because the roads are so full of parked cars as nobody will pay the extortionate car park fees! And if they get their way to build all these hundreds of extra houses it’ll only get worse.

Gullible Islander
Gullible Islander
Reply to  Smithy
1 month ago

Still doesn’t give them the right to block a pavement or park on yellows.
Don’t start chucking excuses about cars and extra houses, that is pitiful.
I know how it all works, I’m no youngster and I certainly haven’t got off the last banana boat. So your argument had better be better than that.

Sue Ridgepipe
Sue Ridgepipe
1 month ago

The increase would have been less if it wasn’t for the exceptional costs of the pandemic. Anybody believe that?

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Sue Ridgepipe
1 month ago

No! What has the pandemic got to do with speed cameras and air conditioning?!

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

With the current record of the political parties on the Island, Independent, conservatives,
forget labour they will end up fighting against central government, so all we are
left with is the green party. I know they are crap but not as bad as the current crap.
What else can we do????

Helen Highwater
Helen Highwater
Reply to  Ron
1 month ago

Please state your evidence that the Green Party “is crap”. Perhaps you haven’t heard of Caroline Lucas?

Tony tollbridge
Tony tollbridge
1 month ago

I think it’s a very fair increase,I have no complaints, it is in line with most of the country including labour run councils.

Smithy
Smithy
Reply to  Tony tollbridge
1 month ago

Well you can obviously afford it! I wouldn’t mind if the reasons made sense for everyone but it doesn’t.

Arthur Sausage
Arthur Sausage
1 month ago

That will cover the exorbitant cost for the chain ferry cockup!

I believe the Council are sueing the planner / supplier / builder of this monstrosity, can we expect a refund of our Council Tax that we have paying from day one will our money be returned if their action is successful ?

How much more money can our Council try to bleed out of us?

Sue
Sue
1 month ago

Where on earth does the council think we are going to get this extra money from we are the lowest paid in the south and with lots of unemployment think they need to get in the real world . As for the cost of speed cameras what a joke I for one will not be voting these in again

tipper
tipper
1 month ago

Dave is happy to spend the money i bet he got a pay arise of more than 4 .99%

Divadggoh
Divadggoh
1 month ago

Parking charge rises I can accept within reason but paying for upgraded parking meters out of council tax I cannot .The money for upgraded parking meters should come from parking charges only the cost of this is apparently £240,000.So Islanders get charged twice while Visitors get just a parking charge.

stephen bushell
stephen bushell
1 month ago

Unbelievable! in these times that they still waste our money on unwanted projects and to show a picture of a smirking Dave Stewart just shows the utter contempt he has for us the tax payer who pays his wages.

Helly
Helly
1 month ago

Where are these new speed cameras?

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Not another hike in council tax the third council tax rise three years running don’t they realise that there are people being made redundant on furlough and poverty an absolute disgrace

Jurdy
Jurdy
1 month ago

It is very satisfying to know that the council have invested in electric v

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