OPPOSITION COUNCILLORS CALL APPROVED BUDGET ‘MOST CYNICALLY UNCARING’

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Opposition councillors pleaded with members of the Isle of Wight Council on Wednesday night to approve a different budget for the Isle of Wight Council than that of the ruling Conservative group, but that call fell on deaf ears.

All 3 alternative budgets ultimately fell but not before feelings could be made known about the incoming changes.

In a bid to enhance communities, boost the local economy, create jobs and tackle both the COVID and climate change emergencies, Lib Dem group leader Councillor Andrew Garratt tried to persuade councillors their budget amendment was a ‘better approach’.

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After 4 years of a ‘diminishing’ council budget, thanks to the Conservative government in Westminster, Cllr Garratt said the cuts to local government had been ‘cruel’.

While the Island Deal is still not on the table, £50,000 has been supplied by the Government to fund an evidence case for the deal,  to build on the work by Portsmouth University. The deal could potentially bring an extra £6.4million in funding for the Isle of Wight Council.

Cllr Garratt said the Conservative group and council leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, will understand why he is not dancing in the streets with joy over the news of the £50,000 because he has seen ‘the devastation’ to the Island, that has been ‘wrought by a Conservative government which has failed to fund local government properly.’

The Lib Dem amendment proposed scrapping the charges for average speed cameras and money towards the transformation reserves, instead putting the funding towards an enterprise fund, climate emergency initiative and reinstating the cuts to libraries. It fell with 26 votes against, 10 for and 2 abstentions.

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Councillor Geoff Brodie, an independent Labour councillor, proposed his amendment for the budget which included only raising council tax 1.99%, compared to the incoming hike of 4.99%, reduce the increase in crematorium fees and retain the support for local councils. He said his proposals were the “best decision for ordinary islanders, working islanders, struggling islanders and pensioners living on fixed incomes” and that any council tax increase should be kept as low as possible.

Cllr Brodie said to ‘shakedown’ taxpayers for the increase ‘shows a complete lack of empathy for ordinary people’, in a budget he called the ’most cynically uncaring budget’ he has seen since the first Conservative austerity budget in 2011. His amendment fell with 21 votes against, 16 for (including 1 Conservative councillor, Cllr Matt Price) and 1 abstention.

The largest opposition party to the Conservatives, the Island Independent Group (IIG) proposed a sustainable transport fund, bounce back loans for empty property regeneration and scrapping the investment in speed cameras.

Leader of the IIG, Cllr Debbie Andre said it was crucial, especially this year, that the budget was right. She asked that councillors “align priorities with the needs of the Island community and rethink their priorities as a local authority, realigning our spending to reflect the current situation while looking ahead to our future economic recovery, fully engaging with residents in the process.”

Cllr Andre said through presenting their alternative budget they know council finances have been ‘pared to the bone’ but ‘there is still scope to prioritise our core principle of putting island residents at the heart of everything we do.’ The IIG amendment fell with 26 votes against, 22 for and 1 abstention.

With the amendments falling, the Conservative budget was approved, 24 votes to 14, meaning from 1st April, council taxpayers on the Isle of Wight will pay 4.99% more.

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.
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Ron
Ron
1 month ago

I think we need a list of all the councillors who voted this tax rise in to make sure they are
voted out in May.

Steven
Steven
Reply to  Ron
1 month ago

No need just say conservatives you then get all in one basket

Indy Island
Indy Island
Reply to  Ron
1 month ago

Look on the bright side, it’s easier to waste other peoples money than your own! What more do we want?

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
1 month ago

if they didn’t spend so much on adult social care and all the associated hangers on, as well as pay theirselves so much, in conjunction with money given to charities, benefit claimants and every other lost cause going, then we would not be paying so much in taxes.

pretty simple.

Sid
Sid
1 month ago

The budget was approved 24 votes to 14, and I think there are 24 conservatives councillors.
Could be a coincidence?

Oldbutalive
Oldbutalive
1 month ago

Councils are supposed to represent the people’s wishes, to benefit and improve the lives of the people.
I must be reading the wrong books!

Lady Dunstanding
Lady Dunstanding
Reply to  Oldbutalive
1 month ago

You are reading the wrong books, sir. The IWCC Manual of Operations by the late George Orwell is what you ought to be boning up on. ISBN 1984…

Oldbutalive
Oldbutalive
Reply to  Lady Dunstanding
1 month ago

Thank you for that, that’s the kind of book i was thinking about when i posted.

Jason
Jason
1 month ago

It’s about time the budget was used to help and benefit the people of the island and that the people of the island have a say in how the budget is used instead of all these greedy councilors benefitting from it by paying themselves huge salaries and bonuses and penalising the people even more when the people are struggling after all they the councilors are civil servants they work for us this is allegedly a democracy after all maybe if these councilors took a cut in pay and stopped WASTING PUBLIC FUNDS on unnecessary nonsense the isle of Wight council wouldn’t be in such debt people work to have a life not just to pay tax’s

Steven
Steven
1 month ago

They new exactly what the budget was months ago it was just a case of we have to go along with the meeting to make it look like we have tried
Shameful people the lot of the conservatives

Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box
1 month ago

And Dave Stewarts council pirates sail off into the sunset, with the hold full off our hard earned cash. It sickens me.

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