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Lib Dems support reduction in Council Tax and investment in services

February 22, 2012 10:50 PM

Cllr David Kendall, Prospective Parliamentary CandidateStatement from Cllr David Kendall, Group Leader:

At last night's Brentwood Special Policy meeting to set the budget the Liberal Democrat group put party politics to one side and supported the Conservative budget plans to reduce Brentwood's Council tax, invest in a number of key services and protect frontline services. However we made it very clear we did not support every aspect of the budget, particularly the rent increases, the extra auditor costs incurred by the late sign off of the accounts and the serious delay over completing the Single Status project.

Over the last few months the Lib Dem group have been accused of "opposing for oppositions sake" but the support given to this Tory budget proves once again that is clearly not the case. I have never voted for a Tory budget in my life and I did so last night with a heavy heart but at the end of the day you have to do what you believe is right for the residents of Brentwood and it was on that basis I made my decision.

During the budget debate I put forward two amendments. The first was to purchase two new CCTV cameras to be used in the fight against anti-social behaviour across the Borough and the second was calling for a reduction of 5% in the Special Responsibility Allowance given to councillors. After a full debate it was disappointing to see both amendments defeated by the Tory administration.

The constructive position taken by myself and the Liberal Democrat group was in stark contrast to the stance taken by the sole Labour member Cllr Mike Le Surf which at times was bordering on the comical.

Cllr LeSurf offered no alternatives to the budget and his silly claims to be the only opposition to the Tories will end up counting for little with the electorate when they realise he has voted against a 2.1% reduction in the council tax and much needed investment in key services. His vote against has made It clear that Labour are not interested in helping and supporting hard pressed Brentwood residents during these difficult economic times. Over the years we have grown used to Cllr LeSurf voting with the Tories on issues like the County Partnership and the Highwood Hospital development but when it came down to getting behind a budget that was generally good for Brentwood his vote against showed his judgement to be sadly lacking.