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LIVE: County Hall sets budget
This live event has finished
- Conservative administration has proposed a council tax freeze for the fourth year running.
- Spending plans include £2m on flood management & £1m on school improvements.
- Opposition parties will put forward their alternative plans today.
- All alternatives include £3m for youth services.
Now for the main budget (including council tax freeze) - and it's APPROVED.
(For 49 / Against 21 / abstained 2)
Pierre Oxley's amendment on youth services FALLS (29 for vs 42 against)
Labour amendment falls
Lib Dem amendment falls.
Deputy leader Kevin Bentley says opposition amendments make no reference to the £107m savings made this year or balance the books but instead "spend spend spend".
Cllr Walters (waste) says much of his budget increase is to tackle a rise in landfill tax.
Cllr Louis (transformation) says no amendments looks at an alternative to save money and simply seek to run down reserves.
Cllr Jowers (communities, libraries and planning) said his small budget and grants from it helped to reach bigger budgets.
Gave example of £4m match funded with Tendring on sea defences which opened up a £41m scheme with government support.
Cllr Bass (highways) says he will offer match funding for verge and ditch clearance up to £50k.
He details how money in his department will be spent including £2m on drainage.
Cllr Madden (children and families) welcomes additional spending on tackling domestic violence.
12:28pm Tue 11 Feb 14
Cllr Dave Harris wrote:There must be enough potholes to justify the full time employment of a small team of repairers. It would surely be cheaper than paying a middleman contractor.
County council needs to get a grip of the contractor ring way whose performance on pot holes is dire
The criteria needs review so we are not wasting tax payer cash
More pot holes repaired in a quicker smarter way
Cllr Gooding: "Some people say of the youth service 'when it's gone it's gone'. The same is true of the money."
Cllr Gooding (education) says we cannot rest on our laurels.
Cllr Aldridge (adult social care) says independent living is the key to making savings.
Cabinet members can now speak on spending in their portfolios...
Cllr Lodge (Ind) says common theme of amendments is the youth service and says the proposed budget cut is not a cut "but a murder".
I count 29 opposition party councillors in the chamber today so it is unlikely the Conservative budget will fall (75 councillors in total at ECC when everyone is here).
Last speaker now in general debate before seconders can sum up. Then the voting begins.
Feel free to post your comments below and I will include a selection.
12:02pm Tue 11 Feb 14
Kim Gandy says
Other Labour plans include:
£160k to pay living wage for lowest paid council employees
What about employees of private organisations? At least one of these political parties should be banging the drum for a proper living wage for ALL sectors of employment.
"We cannot and will not live beyond our means."
What, you mean like the free dinners at County Hall and the chairman's chauffeur driven limo?
"Cllr Durcan (Lab) says spending on flood repairs is welcomed but asked where was funding to prevent it."
Oh my God, some commonsense at last from Labour.
Cllr Howard (Con) says he will still be vocal on street lights and youth services but supported the budget in its totality.
Cllr Robinson (Lib Dem) supports spending in budget on free school meals (£2.7m), support for two-year-olds (£1.6m) and on pupils falling behind (£8.6m) from government.
But says support for older children & teenagers was being cut by 86% over four years.
Cllr Smith (UKIP) says substantial savings would come from leaving the EU.
Cllr Deakin (Lib Dem) supports her party's proposed £250k additional funding for exceptions to the part-night lighting scheme.
Cllr Hoy (Green) says cutting the youth budget now creates problems in the future.
Cllr Danvers (Lab) asks if the administration is genuinely concerned about poverty or are they crocodile tears.
Cllr Graham Butland (Con) asks if there is money in the budget to support a vulnerable group - UKIP
Cllr Durcan (Lab) says spending on flood repairs is welcomed but asked where was funding to prevent it.
Cllr Anne Turrell (Lib Dem) says ECC is doing a lot for businesses but could do more and backs her party's proposal for £1m for enterprise hubs such as the one in Colchester (where she is the borough council leader).
Cllr Dave Harris (Lab) says even the prime minister backs the living wage and it sets a good example, while boosting the economy.
Now the debate begins...
Tendring First councillor Pierre Oxley puts forward an amendment putting £3m back into youth services funded from the general reserve.
Supports Labour's living wage amendment.
Cllr Abbott says no proposal as he knows it would be voted down but asks senior councillors to reconsider cuts to children's centres.
Cllr Abbott challenges the need for future spending cuts and says Eric Pickles (local government minister) is "economically illiterate".
James Abbott speaking now for the Greens.
Also praises the budget for its general thrust but makes no proposals for amendments.
Chris Pond now speaks on behalf of the non-aligned group.
UKIP make no proposed amendments in a bid to save money on paper....
UKIP leader Jamie Huntman up next.
Lib Dem proposals include:
- £3.25m to keep youth service running
- £4.7m for road repairs & white lining
- £750k to fund post-16 school transport
To be funded from reserves and the emergency contingency.
Next up Lib Dem leader Mike Mackrory.
Labour plans to be funded by reserves.
Other Labour plans include:
- £160k to pay living wage for lowest paid council employees
- £150k hardship fund to be spent by credit unions
Pledges to keep the £3m for Youth Services axed under the Tory budget proposals.
Next up is Cllr Julie Young to present the Labour amendments.
Cllr Finch: "This administration has the credibility and track record to continue to deliver for the people of Essex."
Additional £17m on roads to fix potholes on top of £35m over two years pledged last year.
Plus £8m for Local Highways Panels.
£500k for apprenticeships on top of planned spending.
Cllr Finch: "We want to see sustainable economic growth for Essex businesses and communities."
Cash pledged for school buildings and equipment (£97m)
It is full council today in County Hall, Chelmsford. Take a look at the agenda here http://t.co/2rxslGVCxB #EssexBudget #Essex— @Essex_CC 11 February 2014
Cllr Finch 'if we can keep as much of peoples hard earned money in their pockets as possible, we will do.' #EssexBudget— @Essex_CC 11 February 2014
Flood management will have £2m invested in it, plus £1m from emergency funds.
Total of £16.8m extra cash for roads in budget.
Fourth year running we will be freezing council tax bills, says Cllr Finch.
"It is a budget that involves some decisions which in an ideal world we would not choose to take."
"We cannot and will not live beyond our means."
Care Bill could add £40m of costs to ECC spending without full funding.
Budget gap will be £235m by 2017 and savings of £107m needed this year alone.
£211m on capital projects as part of £1.86bn total budget.
"Budget is one of the most important dates of the council year."
Marks the 125th anniversary of ECC and says difficult decisions needed.
Council leader David Finch begins budget speech.
Clacton county councillor Andy Wood praises emergency services and Tendring Council for their response to last week's gas explosion.
The meeting begins with announcements from chairman Kay Twitchen.