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Bromley Council sets 2012/13 budget and freezes council tax

PUBLISHED: 14:06 21 February 2012

Bromley Council leader Stephen Carr

Bromley Council leader Stephen Carr

Archant

More than £13m savings for the next financial year were agreed by Bromley Council at a meeting on Monday evening.

The Conservative council has to make £30m efficiency savings over the next three years after central government slashed its funding to local authorities.

But Bromley Liberal Democrats called the budget ‘callous and unimaginative’ and said it seemed to be ‘almost deliberately targeted at vulnerable young and elderly people’.

They criticised decisions to provide the Bromley Youth Music Trust, which gives music lessons to youngsters, with £294,000 and to keep £489,000 for park maintenance, while slashing the community safety budget by £46,000 and axing £75,000 social work training funding.

The council will also raise an extra £458,000 annually from increasing car parking charges.

Cllr Tom Papworth said: “They have made some terrible decisions and it seems almost deliberately targeted at children and adult social care. It is quite callous.”

Members also voted to not increase council tax for a second year running, made possible by a grant from Local Government minister Eric Pickles.

Council leader Stephen Carr said: “Yes, we have had to make substantial savings, but through our robust financial management, by continuing to drive out waste and being flexible in how we deliver services, once again we have been able to freeze your council tax.”

But Bromley Labour leader John Getgood said people were ‘suspicious’ of the borough’s growing £50m reserves which were boosted by the government’s council tax grant.

Mr Getgood said “We appreciate the need to keep a certain level of reserves and to build up a fund against future pressures.

“But people in Bromley who are already suspicious of the level of reserves in this authority will be aghast to see them increasing when a more imaginative approach could have been taken.”

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