Budget Day 2013 – Council Tax record and pledge – 0%, 0%, 0%, then 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%

On Thursday Suffolk Council Councillors came together for our annual debate on the Budget and indeed this year’s had added poignancy in that we are some 10 weeks off our County elections.

The debate was its usual lively and uncompromising self, as we Conservatives set out our spending plans for the next year protecting front line service and delivering value for money for every single penny of Council Tax payer’s money we spend and at the same time dealing with the continued reductions in Government grants.

We also announced that if elected we will Freeze the Council Tax for the whole of the next 4 year term, that certainly ‘through’ the opposition and it was interesting to watch them try to counter it, failing spectacularly in the process.

We have been accused by some of electioneering which I find a very curious comment indeed, if you are, as we all are, out on the door step and people are telling us how hard it is and worried they are about their household budgets, a comment I have heard time and time again; surely pledging to live within our means, not demand more and more of their hard earned money in Council Tax is just the right thing to do?

We pledged that we will protect frontline services and if you read the budget book we have clearly set out our vision as to how we are going to go about this; in my area of responsibility we have reduced our expenditure in real term by tens of millions of pounds each year, we have gone from a department of 4,000 staff to 1,000 staff, we have created 4 mutuals most of which are now part of the EADT top 50 to watch grow, and we have transferred our Care Homes to Care UK are bring in £60Million of investment in 10 brand new state of the art homes extending the offer to their residents of nursing as well as social care; we are finding new ways of working with communities and embracing both the transfer of Public Health to the Council but also a far better and involved working relationship with Doctors and HealthCare Providers through Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

A track record of 3 years of 0% and a pledge of 0% for 4 more years – that’s what voting Conservative in the County elections in May means. That’s called treating the hard earned money of Council Tax payer’s with respect.

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