No tax rise for Broxtowe folk

BROXTOWE Borough Council passed its budget this week with a zero per cent increase in council tax after cross-party support.

For the first time in years, it was fully supported by the opposition party with every member of the Tory party backing the Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition’s plans.

There were just three votes against – all of which came from members of the Labour party.

Leader of the Conservatives Richard Jackson said: “It’s not an easy decision for us to take but we do support your budget.

“We understand the people of Broxtowe are hard pressed and it isn’t the time to increase council tax.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Cllr David Watts said he wanted to ‘salute’ the Tories for their support, and Cllr Stan Heptinstall said the council had achieved ‘a level of maturity’ he never thought it would.

The budget includes an 8.6 per cent increase in council house rent, which several councillors thought was unfair on hard-pushed tenants.

“In these difficult financial times you should be helping them,” said Tory councillor, Paul Simpson.

But Cllr Watts said the extra money was needed to improve the housing.

“Last year we replaced 350 bathrooms and 370 boilers. It’s not a decision we take eagerly. We have to do it to bring the homes up to standard.”

The votes against were from Andy Cooper, Andrea Oates and Greg Marshall with one abstention from Steve Carr.

Andrea Oates and Greg Marshall said at Wednesday’s meeting the council they should fight against central Government cuts.

“We need to oppose what’s going on,” said Cllr Oates. “Otherwise things will only get worse.”

Broxtowe Borough Council has had its Government grant slashed by over a quarter over the last two years.

Leader of the council Pat Lally said: “Irrespective of which political party any of the councillors belong to, no one can doubt the hardship being felt by everyone.”