Front line services maintained and Council Tax frozen under the Conservatives

At the Council meeting (23 February 2012) the Conservatives passed a budget that maintains service delivery, with residents set to benefit from an unprecedented second year of Council Tax freezes.

The Conservative backed budget freezes Council Tax levels, which is at least £130 less than the average across Kent.

And once again Labour put forward no alternative budget proposals and voted against a budget that protects services, which they claim to support.

This comes after last week’s shock announcement on BBC Radio Kent that Labour would make the political choice to close Rochester Airport and Deangate Ridge – two cherished community assets.

Labour also opposed the Council Plan which sets out the Council’s priorities for the coming year such as continuing to provide value for money, giving children a better start in life and ensuring Medway is safe, clean and green.

The new budget honours the election commitments made by the Conservative Group last year to protect key front line services including libraries, weekly bin collection and green spaces, despite having to make savings of £14.3 million.

There are no cuts to Sure Start, with all 19 centres continuing to receive annual revenue as least as large as in 2011/12, with the service receiving an additional £322,000 for extended nursery provision.

Funding was also found to continue the popular free-swimming initiative, which has enabled nearly 60,000 under 11s and over 30,000 over 60s to swim for free since April.

In addition, £50,000 has been earmarked to fight the proposed Thames Estuary Airport.

Deputy Leader Alan Jarrett said:

“Its business as usual at the Council with service delivery and key front line services secured. Yet again we see that Labour has no ideas of their own and oppose everything including the Council tax freeze, funding for the stop estuary airport campaign, Sure Start and free swimming.

“Labour say they support services but its not words that count but actions and Labour’s only action is to oppose all the great services that the council provides. They even chose to oppose the Council Plan that outlines the priorities for the next year.”  

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