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Budget cuts agreed at Bexley Council meeting

PUBLISHED: 09:51 07 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:55 07 March 2013

Bexley Council leader Cllr Teresa O'Neill

Bexley Council leader Cllr Teresa O'Neill

Archant

The final package of spending cuts which will have seen Bexley Council shed £36 million off the budget over the last three years was passed at the full council meeting last night (March 6).

But in a fraught meeting at the civic offices in Bexleyheath, Bexley’s 11 Labour councillors all voted against the budget, claiming the lack of a council tax rise for the fourth year in a row was covered up by stealth taxes elsewhere like parking charge increases and cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The council also said there was going to a projected budget gap of £40m in the four years from 2014 to 2018 which it is not sure how it’s going to fill.

This year it will shed more than £1m from the adult social care budget partly by ending or reducing provision in some care homes and £120,000 from schools, principally through not filing vacant posts for staff who deal with children with special education needs.

The council will spend almost £100m will be spend on a variety of capital projects, including the Howbury Project in Slade Green and various town centre regeneration schemes.

Council leader Cllr Teresa O’Neill said: “Times are hard but I’m proud to be proposing this budget.

“This has been one of the hardest budgets to deliver as we take control of both public health and council tax benefit.

“Between 2014 and 2018 we’ll have to make the most of the money we get.”

But Labour’s Cllr Sean Newman said: “The budget will leave the borough on the precipice of a financial cliff.

“The council tax freeze is dangerous because it means services will deteriorate and the Conservatives are raising around £7.5m a year through stealth taxes like raising parking charges.”

The cuts take effect from April 1.

What do you think of the cuts? Call the newsdesk on 0208 477 3858, email robin.cottle@archant.co.uk or tweet @BexleyTimes.

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