I was outraged

LAST week's article on the lack of budget debate was not accurate.

LAST week's article on the lack of budget debate was not accurate.

It is certainly true that I was outraged when the environmental services chairman did not allow questions or discussion on the council's revenue budget at the environmental services panel meeting last month. This is the budget which sets the council tax rise, involving cuts, increased charges and increased costs.

Another councillor asked a question about the increased cost of next year's waste services, but chairman Cllr Garner stopped officers from answering, ruling that the budget was a matter for the Executive and not for scrutiny panels.

If allowed, I would have asked about cuts to environmental bodies such as the Forest of Avon and the Mendip AONB, and about expected savings from abandoned vehicles due to increased scrap metal prices, when in fact scrap metal prices have dropped. I was outraged because scrutiny panels are supposed to scrutinise the budget and this was being stopped.

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Last week's article stated wrongly that I was angry about the way a budget amendment was treated. In fact I was satisfied that we did discuss the amendment to the capital budget which I put forward.

This proposal was for a three-year programme of increased insulation and energy -saving measures in council-owned buildings and some selected domestic properties, intended to pay for itself over this time.

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Liberal Democrat Group Leader

School Road


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