I attended the Sefton Council budget meeting where we were ordered by the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Eric PicklesMP to set a budget for 2013-2014.
To set a legal budget would require the council making cuts of £35 million.We also initiated measures for further cuts to our budget in 2015. The total being 50.8 million.
That is on top of £64 million cuts already in previous years to our yearly spending and giving a total of £114.8 million cuts per year by 2015 almost 40% of our budget.
After a group meeting at 17:00 the full council meeting was opened by the Mayor of Sefton Cllr Kevin Cluskey at 18:30.
A member of the public, retired teacher; Mr John Turner spoke to support a petition of 4034 signatures calling for the council to keep open Churchtown library.
Shortly afterwards, loud protests commenced from the public Gallery by a group of around 20 anti “Bedroom-Tax”/ austerity(Stand up in Bootle) protestors. The scale of the protest prevented further debate and it was agreed by Councillors to debate the petition in agenda item 14. “2 Year Financial plan and revenue budget” at 18:45 the Mayor adjourned the proceedings. The protest continued personal insults were repeatedly aimed at specific Councillors and it was recommended by Council officers to reconvene the meeting in the Assembly hall.
.The meeting reconvened at 19:41. The three political group leaders, Cllrs; Peter Dowd(Lab), Browne(LD) and Peter Papworth(Con) all gave formal statements on the proposed budget at set out in the meeting papers. Cllr Peter Papworth(Con) said that the conservative group were broadly in favour of the budget as proposed but made; in my opinion, some sensible suggestions as to refinement in some technical aspects. All the leaders thanked the Council Officers for their excellent work on compiling the budget recommendations.
The vote was held at 21:50 and the budget passed by 36 – 26.
The recommendations for Council tax rates for 13/14 were presented to Council members and agreed. Chief executive Mrs Margaret Carney at one point intervened to declare that Maghull Town council had, in her view, formally declared a precept despite this being denied by Cllr Robertson(LD) who is also a Maghull Town Councillor.
Sefton Council Statement CLICK HERE
The meeting Agenda including budget details can be found CLICK HERE
Crosby Herald report HERE