A recent flyer through my door from the Conservatives described how they’d been keeping council tax low for 14 years. Why do they keep blowing this rusty old trumpet?
From my point of view the budget should not be used to play games but it invariably is! “Share your alternative budget” is another broken record we hear from the Tories as the cabinet agrees to commit to spending money they don’t even know they’ve got yet!
In 2018, after years of Tory mismanagement of funds, RBWM had reserves of 15%. That means 15% of its annual revenue is put to one side in case of emergencies.
In comparison, at the same time Bracknell had 45% and Wokingham 56% put aside for a rainy day.
Currently we have reserves of around 7% and the only thing keeping the budget out of the red is the promise of an RBWM lottery that will save the day. Even Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice couldn’t make that work to their advantage and they have the general public on their side.
This is all because the Tories continue to have their heads in the sand post COVID. While general reserves are down 25% over the last 2 years they still want to be seen, even after all the evidence to the contrary, to have the lowest council tax outside of London.
So after 14 years of hurt, this Borough deserves better.
STOP playing games with our chidrens’ future, grow up and take responsibility for your actions. Start working with officers to come up with some real money making ideas that don’t involve borrowing millions!
The Corporate Plan talks of Creating a Borough of Opportunity & Innovation… the Tories had better start leading by example or you may find that residents recognise, after 14 years of hurt, this Borough deserves better.
Most of us in this room recognise you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. If we were to have perfect pavements & roads, Highways would need a budget of around £100m a year. That’s a whole year’s income, it’s never going to happen.
Legally this council needs a budget in place to be able to operate. RBWM employs hundreds of people and I am not going to put their livelihoods at risk. Or give the Tories the ability to wag their fingers. So I am minded to vote for this budget but ask those listening to recognize that after 14 years of hurt, this Borough deserves better and residents need to vote accordingly in May 2023.
Cllr Jon Davey
Independent – Clewer & Dedworth West
You can watch the full video of the meeting below but sound quality is poor again!