RCT Pauline Jarman`s 's Budget Speech
This is the first budget of the new administration that was elected in May 2012, the current budget is one that was inherited from the outgoing administration and was approved in February 2012.
It will be the first budget experience for a number of new Councillors, not least the 16 newly elected Labour Members who must be gutted by some of the budget proposals as well as the other 44 Labour Members who should have known better.
Some of the key statements made in Labour's 2012 Election manifesto must be haunting you, if not they should be. Do you remember claiming that Labour is the only party in RCT to present a fully costed manifesto with clear pledges to local people. Who did those sums for you, George Osborne ? It goes on to say no other party has produced such a detailed vision to stand up against the cuts and a further claim that the manifesto includes NO FALSE PLEDGES and no GIMMICKS to win votes.
You pledged to keep weekly black bag /bin collections no matter how harsh the cuts from the ConDem government.
You were categoric in your pledge to keep the weekly refuse collection and maintain a zero charge for bulky waste collections and to protect and keep the frequency of grass cutting, street cleaning and other environmental works.
Everyone of these pledges will be broken by this budget and I look forward to you spinning until you are giddy on another pledge you made to publish a programme of delivery, highlighting how Labour Councillors are HONOURING THE PLEDGES they made at the local elections.
One pledge you will keep is free school breakfasts, and you need to following the intention to increase school dinners by 8% pushing them up from £2.08p per meal since last September to £2.25p per meal or £11.25p weekly from April.
About 10,500 meals are served daily, so 10,500 children mostly living in low income households will generate an extra £340k per year. I make this point because no consideration has been made of this increase on the health and wellbeing of the children as well as the financial and social effect on already struggling young families.
Recently published research confirmed yet again that Penywaun, Tylorstown, Maerdy and Rhydfelen Central have some of the highest levels of Child poverty in Wales and just 74% of the entire population in the County say they are in good health
I note some stark differences in this budget compared to the pre election budget and they are very telling.
The obvious differences are the pre election council tax increase was 2.49% compared to this years 3.95%.
In the election year you took £5.2m comfortably out of reserves. This year the figure is £2.4m with a health check
In election year, Band D increase was 54p weekly, this year 87p. Likewise Band A increase in election year was 35p weekly this year it is 55p weekly
In 2004 the Council received £1,176 per capita in the settlement and was ranked 3rd highest in Wales, This year the figure is £1,585 per capita, £409 more and retained its ranking as 3rd.
Band A council tax including police precept was £591 in 2004 when Labour regained control of the Council compared to £917 this year an increase of £326 or 55% despite the per capita increase.
Labour have 60 Members as compared to 15 on the Opposition benches so you don't need our help to get this budget through.
But you will be judged. The Electorate of RCT supported you in May 2012 based on your manifesto pledges and you have BETRAYED their trust.