The full Council meeting to decide the 2013/14 Budget was nothing if not predictable and the papers and reports for this meeting are here.
Two large petitions were submitted during the meeting, one was against closure of the Youth Centres, another of over 14,000 against closure of the Day Centres.
The Conservative Budget amendment was debated first and proposed saving the day centres and setting a 0% Council Tax rise which would’ve been achieved through savings (reducing amounts awarded to those taking redundancy, 5 days unpaid leave, “leaning Council bureaucracy” and reducing support to councillors.
Not unsurprisingly (despite Lib Dem support) the Conservative budget was defeated by Labour councillors.
The Lib Dem Budget went further and proposed saving a whole raft of services the day centres, youth centres, grants to voluntary groups, school crossing patrols, Birkenhead kennels and ruling out a charge for collection of garden waste. It also proposed keeping the Area Forums and reducing councillors to sixty. This would’ve been achieved through savings in agency workers, reductions in councillors allowances and senior management pay, capping the redundancy payouts, less glossy brochures, reduced audit fees and some other minor savings. This Budget also would’ve led to a 0% increase in Council Tax. The Lib Dem Budget was also rejected.
So the Budget that passed was the unamended Labour Cabinet’s budget recommendation of the 18th February 2013, this Budget will lead to an overall increase in 2% in Council Tax (any higher would trigger a referendum) and includes closure of one of the day centres, cancelling the Tranmere Rovers sponsorship, getting rid of Area Forums, a cut of £1.5 million to the budget for Childrens Centres/Surestart, a cut of £1 million to the Street cleaning budget, a cut of nearly £1 million to the Home Insulation scheme and various other cuts to Council services. For the full details of Labour’s budget you can read the papers on Wirral Council’s website.