Bassetlaw: Councillors agree budget after stormy meeting

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Bassetlaw councillors have agreed to a Council Tax increase and voluntary redundancies to fill a £920,000 shortfall caused by Government funding cuts.

Councillors rubber-stamped the ruling Labour Party’s budget, which will see Council Tax increased by 1.5 percent, at their annual budget meeting in Retford on Thursday 6th March.

Portfolio holder for finance, Coun June Evans, spoke of remaining positive and actively seeking to reduce impact by investing in new technology and developing partnerships with local authorities.

She said: “There is no point in standing there like Oliver Twist, asking the Government for more.”

“It is vital that everyone comes to terms with the reality of our situation- we must plan for the future and show we are an innovative and responsive council,” she added.

Speaking on behalf of the Conservatives, Coun Annette Simpson said the group rejected the budget.

She said: “The administration has chosen to turn their back on Central Government and ploy money from the workers. Why does the leadership of this council believe that the people of Bassetlaw should be taxed to fund their inadequacies?”

“They seem so keen to penalise the working people they allegedly represent.”

Labour councillors hit back at the response, arguing that the Conservative group had failed to come up with an alternative budget.

Coun Graham Oxby said: “The opposition should oppose, yet all they can come up with is a half-hearted response with no alternative plan- it’s not good enough.”

Coun Alan Rhodes added: “We are finally taking control of our financial destiny and looking at news ways of working. I congratulate the leadership for an innovative and bold budget.”