Last Tuesday evening, the Unity Alliance successfully passed the first ever BCP Council budget almost entirely unopposed. After an attempt to amend the budget was defeated, Conservative opposition collapsed. For the Conservatives to abstain from voting was a complete surprise. They failed to produce an alternative budget, so this was another huge win for the Unity Alliance, showing once again consensus politics can and does work for local residents. This budget enables the protection of all existing children’s centres and youth clubs and also provides an excellent families’ and young people’s strategy.
“The age of austerity has not ended as far as local government and local services are concerned,” said David Brown, Cabinet member for Finance. “This budget continues to
manage the £103 million annual reduction in the council’s core funding from government.” Only 1% of Council funding now comes from the UK government despite 2/3rds of local spending being on adult and children’s social care.
He added: “This budget allows us to set a council tax that makes a single charging structure possible right across the conurbation from April 2021, to fulfil our promise that all households will be billed the same within two years of the formation of BCP Council. This is much fairer on council tax payers across the conurbation than was the original Conservative plan which would have seen Poole residents facing larger increases than either Bournemouth’s or Christchurch’s residents for the next 6 years.”
This is the first ever budget passed by one of the country’s newest and largest councils, laying out not just a framework for the next year, but the next decade. Councillors from seven different parties and groups came together to set out a vision for BCP. This budget is backed by a series of exciting corporate strategies, including addressing the Climate Change Emergency. Every single aim has been mapped out with delivery plans that meet UN sustainable development goals.