Bromley Liberal Democrats call for a progressive Budget focussing on support for the most vulnerable

27 Feb 2024
Council Tax Bill

At a meeting of Bromley Council to discuss the Council Budget for 2024/2025, Bromley Liberal Democrats presented an alternative Budget for the Conservative administration to consider. Our proposals focussed on reducing the amount of money the Council spent on refurbishing the new Civic Centre and using unexpected funds from central government relating to business rates and redirecting those funds to protect the most vulnerable in the borough and supporting community issues important to local people, 

Councillor Chloe-Jane Ross spoke for the Lib Dems:-

“The Conservative Government has failed to offer a fair funding deal to local government. They have failed to provide financial support to councils facing a social housing crisis, an adult social care crisis, a  special educational needs crisis and unprecedented financial pressure as demand for council services grows 

The Chancellor has given tax cuts with one hand, but taken them away with the other, as nearly every Council in the land is forced to put up Council Tax to maximum levels, whilst also having to cut services and find more ways to raise revenue from residents and businesses.”

Our amendments reflect both the concerns from our residents, and the priorities of the Liberal Democrat Group in protecting the vulnerable, supporting the community and making sure Bromley has accessible services.”

The Liberal Democrat Group put forward 12 fully funded priorities, but only one was supported by the Leader of the Conservative group - the cheapest one, to set up a voluntary fund to allow residents to donate to specific local causes. The other 11 priorities - to support the homeless, support the voluntary sector, stop cuts in youth services, fund extra road safety, air quality and anti-idling measures, and protect the borough’s heritage, introduce card payment parking machines and to deal with digital exclusion in accessing council services were ignored by the Conservatives despite Lib Dem Councillors passionately making the case for them.   

Cllr Will Connolly spoke about the importance of “supporting the issues that mattered most to our residents - particularly making sure that the services offered by the Council are accessible to everyone.”

Cllr Sam Webber spoke about the importance of funding officer time to develop a strategy for protecting our cultural heritage “before it is lost for future generations”; he also spoke about the Lib Dems’ proposal to help the Bromley Homeless charity fund a half-way house for rough sleepers to help them off the streets and for setting up a voluntary fund for residents’ donations, ringfenced to support community initiatives.

Cllr Graeme Casey spoke about the need to make sure that any savings to youth services are reinvested - “Our young people need more investment, not less, to help our young people thrive in our community, limit exposure to anti-social behaviour and crime, expand the provision of extra-curricular activities and increase school-based counselling. “ 

Summing up for the Lib Dems, Cllr Julie Ireland appealed to the Conservative administration to consider the many Bromley residents who are currently facing real hardship - the increase in council tax will be simply unaffordable for many. “This is why we have prioritised protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”

A full copy of the Lib Dems' proposal is available here, with the details of funding shown here.

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