Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Merton Council Budget meeting

The Tories supported by the residents voted through this evening a 3.6% Council Tax rise(above inflation)in the Merton Council tax also while also agreeing to close down Bond Road, cutting the SEN budget along with a agreeing a whole range of cuts in relation to charging that are likely to impact severely impact on the most vulnerable especially the elderley and those with learning disabilities.

If we had been in charge we would have gone for a 2.5% rise in Council tax along with introducing wheelie bins something the Conservatives have refused to do. Under Merton Tories you pay more for less services.

At the meeting, I also raised questions about the deliverability of their budget, serious questions have to be asked about some of their savings which depend in some instances on court judgements(VAT on off street parking ruling £300K) and getting an increase in social services taking up benefits(500K in total) for just over 1000 clients(both had had high risk analysis), it will certainly have to be a very successful exercise if it is too succeed. It will be interesting to see if the Tory budget stacks up after a few months and we'll be monitoring it closely.

They also voted to spend £46,000 on hiring consultants to review a bus lane of only 150 metres on Hartfield Road in the middle of Wimbledon, totally wasteful. They should either keep it or scrap it, still it nice renumerator for some consultant. It was also noticeable that local Tory Cllr Chris Edge who had condemned previously the expenditure did not mention it in his speech and as a consultant he knows only too well how generous consultancy is as an occupation.


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