To consider a report by the Head of Finance and Asset Management (Reference 11/125 attached).
Cllr Fox introduced this item and informed members that there was a typographical error on page 75 which stated that there was a budget saving from market testing of Manor Road of £25000. This should state £0 at present.
Cllr Kenyon then presented this item to council. She stated that it was her duty to present the budget for 2011/12 in a climate of major challenges to local government. She did not think that any councillor had stood for election to council to make the budget that they had to pass that day. The council was tied by the rules and resources of Central Government. The anticipated cuts of 8% of central government funding had in reality been 14% for 2011/12 which left the council with a funding deficit of £2.1million, There had been briefings and public consultation on the budget and the council had responded to the results of the consultation where possible. She stated that once the budget was set the council then had to oversee to ensure the delivery of these savings. Cllr Kenyon said that if any councillor wished to challenge the budget they needed to have a viable alternative and she reminded members that this was not the time to play politics. Cllr Kenyon then paid tribute to the Head of Finance and Asset Management and his staff who had worked hard to form a balanced budget and also to all the officers who had worked to achieve the savings.
Cllr Broadbent stated that he had attended many public meetings recently and that the main concern of the public was that services for vulnerable groups were protected and he did not feel that the budget achieved this. He stated that the council may want to save money for a rainy day but for many residents that rainy day had now arrived. He informed members that the Trades Union Congress had organised a march against the cuts on 26 March and there would be a local march in Scarborough. He asked what was the budget doing to promote growth in the borough.
Cllr Tom Fox replied that:
· the budget was seeking to engage Local Economic Partnerships, focussing on business in the borough to create jobs;
and in relation to vulnerable groups:
· the council was aiming to reduce the time required to process benefits claims from 17 days to 6 days, and
· removing any backlog for disabled facilities grants.
Cllr Watson asked if the budget was approved that day how many job losses would there be and how much would it cost in redundancy payments. He was advised by Mr Edwards that a written response would be provided.
Cllr Popple stated that he agreed with Cllr Broadbent and thought it was disgraceful that the government had cut the grant to the council by 14% this year and ... view the full minutes text for item 6