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The City Council Budget: Left & Right perspectives

Chris Satori

Lancaster City Council has approved its budget for the coming year and you can read their official statement about it here and the supporting documents about the budget here. The budget was proposed by the majority Labour group and passed with 30 votes in favour, 15 against and 7 abstentions.

Among a great manyother things it includes plans for increased council housing (to be known as 'Housing of Choice'), solar farm development, a new industrial estate at Heysham, amenity Improvements to Morecambe Promenade, expansion of the facilities at Williamson Park, modernising the waste collection service and strict monitoring on use of consultants.

This is what the two main political groups on the Council, Conservative and Labour, had to say about it:


Lancaster City Council Conservative Leader Peter Williamson had presented 'an alternative budget that put growth, jobs and respect for the taxpayer first, ahead of Labour's continued waste and consultants.'

They claimed their plans would:

  •     deliver a balanced budget
  •     wipe out Labours proposed deficits
  •     not increase Council Tax
  •     increase reserves
  •     make huge efficiency savings
  •     slash consultancy and agency staff costs, and
  •     invest in growth across the whole of the district (Lancaster; Morecambe and the rural areas).

Before the meeting Peter Williamson said: “Our proposals are ambitious and benefit every single resident in the district. We will lower working people’s taxes; improve the services we all depend on; invest in the economy and ensure the financial long term viability of the Council. Labour have proven yet again that they have no vision and continue to blame everyone but themselves for their financial woes.”

Councillor Andrew Gardiner said: “Labour's proposal to increase the number of ice cream vans in Morecambe is so ridiculous that is makes a mockery of the taxpayers. They have no ideas to improve our services, and the ice cream idea is hardly going to make them hundreds and thousands is it!”

Councillor Charlie Edwards said: “Why anyone would vote against the Conservative proposals I don't know. ... Labour pretends to support the vulnerable residents, we are the Councillors who want to give them prosperity, support and a cherished place to live.”


Labour group and council leader, Cllr Eileen Blamire, said: "This is a budget that invests in vital public services, arts, leisure and solar energy, helps people on low incomes and supports businesses and the local economy.

"We have again protected frontline services, despite £7.5m of Tory Government cuts to our funding in recent years and attempts by local Tory councillors to outsource services to the private sector for profit - they have learned nothing from their ill-fated deal with BT One Connect in Lancashire and the collapse of Carillion.

"We are again helping people on the lowest incomes with council tax, meaning many will not be affected by £1.40 a week hike for a Band D property imposed by the Tories running the county council.

"The modest 12p a week rise in the city council's share - less for many households - will help us to invest in our district and make improvements to key services like street cleaning.

"Labour councillors are investing in a cleaner, safer, fairer and more prosperous district."