Broxtowe’s budget approved despite fury over council tax in heated meeting

Broxtowe Borough Council’s budget has been approved despite opposition and heated debate over whether an increase in council tax was really needed.
Broxtowe Borough Council headquarters.Broxtowe Borough Council headquarters.
Broxtowe Borough Council headquarters.

The budget proposed a £5 increase in Broxtowe’s council tax per band D property, taking it from £171.85 to £176.85 in 2022/23.

The authority also recommended a 4.1 per cent increase in housing rent and garage rent so funds could be invested back into housing stock.

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Councillor Steve Carr (Lib Dem) said it was a “progressive, robust and sustainable” budget which recommended no compulsory redundancies or reductions to front line services.

A total of 21 councillors voted in favour and 14 voted against the proposals.

But there was backlash from the Conservative group, specifically councillor Philip Owen, who called the leading coalition “a bunch of modern day fagins”.

Speaking of the council tax increase, Cllr Carr said: “This very modest increase will support vital local services, provide value for money, build up our tax base and importantly continue to support our post pandemic economic community and health recovery.

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“Our economic growth and investment strategy across housing, regeneration and business growth will be vital for our financial sustainability and improving our residents’ lives.

He thanked his fellow councillors from Labour, Liberal Democrat Group and Independent members who assisted with preparing the budget.

The authority also announced that it will receive over £350,000 in 2022/23 in the ‘new homes bonus – a grant paid by central government to local councils incentivise housing growth – compared to £20,000 in 2021/22.

Councillor Philip Owen (Con) responded: “Yet again we have heard that its all the Government’s fault that the council tax is going to go up.

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“Let’s remind ourselves what this council has received from this Conservative government. £820,000 which it could use to offset the council tax increase.

“The council tax increase will raise simply £174,000 and we are told that this is small, modest. As I understand it, it is the maximum amount you are allowed to take.

“What you are in effect is a bunch of modern day fagins. Unfortunately, you are going to pick the pocket of every council taxpayer in this borough.

“This council is sinking faster than the Titanic and I’ve noted that a fair number of officers are taking to the lifeboats.”

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Cllr Carr responded by asking why the Conservative group did not put forward an alternative budget.

Councillor Greg Marshall (Lab) added: “It is another no cuts to services and no cuts to jobs budget which was the envy of councils up and down the land.

“It isn’t thanks to the Tory Government and we must continually say this. Whilst the one-off payments from the Covid grants are welcome of course, it is only a sticking plaster to the continual gross underfunding of local government that we have seen year upon year.”

Councillor Richard Jackson (Con) said he couldn’t support the budget saying the council had its “head in the sand”.

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He said: “You’ve been fortunate this year with additional cash from central Government, new homes bonus, lots of Covid grants and not least £350,000 which you have taken from reserves yet again.

“You’ll be below the minim level of balances very soon if you carry on like that.

“It worries me where we will be in a couple of years time. It is disappointing that we have got the budget that we have.”