Monday, October 22, 2007

Budget revealed!

Tudor House; now under restoration.

After months of work, the new Conservative administration published its new budget for consultation last Friday. It is a serious attempt to re-orientate the Council in line with the administration's VALUES and to focus on providing both a better level of core services and protecting the hard pressed council taxpayer from further demands from the public purse. The key changes are as follows;

1. Reaffirming commitment to keep Council Tax within inflation (hooray!!!),

2. A 10% discount in Council Tax for pensioner households (where all occupants are over 65),

3. Scrapping Council Tax for local people who become Special Police Constables in Southampton,

4. An extra £1.7m a year into social services for vulnerable adults and children,

5. Another £3/4m a year into road repairs (part of a three year increase of £2.3m,

6. Over £5m of efficiency savings identified (£1m identified for each month the Conservatives have been in office),

7. An overall increase in money for Southampton schools. Earlier this year an extra £5m was given to secondary schools for improvements,

8. Bringing in free nationwide bus travel for senior citizens in April,

9. £300,000 extra for parks in the suburbs,

10. Investment into the city's heritage - money to refurbish Tudor House and to build a heritage centre at the civic centre.

The nightmare of course is the chronic underfunding of the Council by central government; since 1997 Southampton has suffered enormously as labour has transferred vast resources from the city to fund its northern heartlands, the subject of my maiden speech to the full council. Given that, I think we have come up with some imaginative and thoughtful proposals- it will be interesting to see if the public agree.


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