Bromley Tories agreed at last night’s full council meeting to increase council tax by 1.99% with an additional 2% precept for adult social care.
Despite being asked to pay more, Bromley residents will also have to cope next year with £15.1m of drastic cuts to services that have already been cut to the bone.
Additional cuts of £18.2m in 2017/18 and £19.07m in 2018/19 were also agreed in principle.
Labour councillors believe this is unsustainable and that vulnerable people will be put at risk. They have accused the Tories of prioritising further privatisation of services and building up a massive investment portfolio at the cost of putting residents’ lives and well-being at risk.
Labour councillors proposed an alternative (balanced) budget that illustrated how the Council’s resources could be allocated differently so that cuts were reduced in 2016/17 with NO FURTHER CUTS NECESSARY in 2017/18 or 2018/19.
Speaking for the Labour Group, Cllr Angela Wilkins said:
“It is true that David Cameron is bleeding local government dry. But the other truth is that Bromley is a relatively wealthy council – many of these cuts could have been avoided and can be avoided in the next few years. And they can be avoided without spending the reserves, but by getting the balancing right between providing services and by not buying yet more commercial properties.”
Cllr Dunn, who seconded Labour’s alternative budget option said:
“In the last few years Bromley Tories have spent £62m on commercial property investments. We recognise that there is a good rate of return on these, but they plan to spend a further £23m over the next three years and we think it is obscene to do this and then cut services, particularly care services for adults and children.
To do so requires a radical re-think, and that is what Labour has done. There is a real alternative to cuts, don’t let them kid you otherwise.”
Council tax in Bromley is going up by £41 per month for a band D household. Due to reductions in the GLA precept, the overall impact on Bromley households is reduced and the net increase is £22 per band D household.
£7.65million will be taken from Adult Social Care next year, including £1.39m from services for adults with learning disabilities, and £1.52m from Children’s Social Care.