Conservatives branded ‘nasty’ in alternative budget debate
8:51am Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
ALTERNATIVE budgets put forward by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats at Bolton’s full council meeting were dismissed by the ruling Labour group.
The Liberal Democrats tabled an amendment that included taking planned capital investment from the town centre and spreading it to outlying areas including Horwich, Farnworth and Little Lever, carrying out a review of winter maintenance, and diverting any extra cash raised from the dividend the council gets from its shares in Manchester Airport to area forums and neighbourhood budgets.
Conservative plans included a council tax freeze and reducing the amount of cash spent on councillors’ allowances, chief officers and unions — a plan which drew scorn from Labour councillor Martin Donaghy. He said: “What is this all about? Is it about balancing the budget?
“You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realise this is all about kicking the trade unions and organised Labour because the Tories have never liked organised Labour.
“Same old Tories, some old nasty party.”
Conservative councillor Hilary Fairclough hit back saying: “It’s disingenuous to call us the nasty party, what do you call a party that puts people’s taxes up?
“We’re not saying get rid of the trade unions.”
Fellow Conservative Andy Morgan added: “They’re trying to play to the public and the unions without saying what they would actually do about the national deficit.”
Labour’s Kate Challender welcomed the proposed creation of a £1 million poverty fund.
She said: “It’s clear that Bolton’s Conservative group doesn’t believe we’re all in this together any more than their Party leader does."
Following a three-hour meeting punctuated by early disruptions due to shouts from the public gallery, Labour’s budget plans and a 3.5 per cent council tax rise were adopted, the Party’s superior numbers forcing them through despite both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats voting against it.