Opposition budget proposal complaints dismissed by council’s cabinet

The council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall
The council chamber at Peterborough Town Hall
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Criticism from opposition parties was dismissed by cabinet members at Peterborough City Council who urged the public to get involved in the consultation for the budget.

Since details of how the £25 million gap in the budget had to be filled for 2015/16, opposition councillors have hit out at some of the proposals and warned of the danger to public services.

However, the Conservative-run cabinet pointed out that leaders of every other political group were for the first time invited to take part in budget discussions.

Speaking at the cabinet’s public meeting on November 24, deputy leader Councillor John Holdich said: “There’s nothing in phase one that the all party committee on the budget did not say could go out to consultation. Although they did not say they agreed with it.”

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald added that suggestions from opposition parties such as the Liberal Democrats were considered, but that did not mean they were worth including.

“People deriding the process are not the nominated representatives of that group,” he said.

Cllr Gavin Elsey implored people to get involved in the budget consultation which is currently in the first of two phases.

Cllr David Seaton named meals on wheels, fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour as some of the areas which the public had already highlighted that they cared most about.

“The council is absolutely committed to ensuring a bright future in this city, but we face an enormous challenge,” he said.

“The cabinet has been working for the last six months and it’s the first time we’ve had a cross party budget committee.

“We want to know what local residents, businesses and partnerships think.”

The cabinet will recommend to full council its first wave of budget proposals at its meeting on Monday, 15 December.

These will then be debated by the council on Wednesday, 17 December.

Approval at Monday’s cabinet meeting was also given to the council’s new review on homelessness as well as a development plan for the city centre and to continue the consultation on community centres.

Documents supporting the meeting indicated that the number of applications on the housing register dropped from 9,703 in January 2013 to 2,688 at the end of October 2014.

It added that in 2013/14, homelessness applications were accepted from 1,095 households which was marginally less than the previous two years and considerably less than the 1,326 from four years ago.

Related: Peterborough City Council 2015/16 budget: Proposed savings

Care for the vulnerable under threat warns opposition leaders as 2015/16 budget details announced

See meeting agenda here.

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