I attended the Council's cabinet meeting last night and a number of important decisions were made. Some good things occured but the second half of the meeting was spoilt due to a meague back-track on the previously touted 50% cut to both Park Rangers and the enviro-crime officers.
These front-line members of staff do so much to keep our borough safer and ensuring our parks are in a better position. There was a back-track where 2 park ranger roles will be retained so the cut is more like 35% than 50% but the enviro-crime officers are halved in number meaning incidences of fly-tipping might be expected to rise. Liberal Democrats believe that front-line roles should be retained and savings found elsewhere like slashing a Council internal magazine.
Other policy announcements included:
- The voluntary grants budget is to be cut by 30% and not the 35% as detailed in the reports. I welcomed the move but said the movement should be more given the nature and vulnerability of those who often need grants;
- The Council will raise council rents by 4.7% (a freeze in real terms) - all the parties present agreed to this. The coalition government recommended we increase by 6% (1.3% above inflation) but this is a bad move in the current climate.