Wokingham Tories are determined to keep the Liberal Democrat opposition in the dark about Wokingham Borough Council’s budget and finances.
Councillor Prue Bray (Leader of the Lib Dem Councillor Group and Councillor for Winnersh ward) said, “Last year I was able to get information about budget discussions through the Freedom of Information Act, even though it took 11 months to get the answers, but now the Tories have changed the meetings to keep the information completely secret. Among the things we discovered last year were that the Tories had considered a number of loopy ideas to save money, such as:
Sell the Cantley House Hotel site and turn it into a housing estate
Increase car parking charges above inflation (in some cases, up to a staggering 40%)
Sell off libraries
Sell off the Borough’s Youth Centres
“But now the Tories have made sure we cannot get hold of budget information any more by holding their meetings in secret. This is a bit rich coming from the Tory Councillors who said last May that they were bringing in ‘the start of a more open policy of working’. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.
“In most councils, the details of the budget are discussed openly in committee meetings. In Wokingham, the Tories won’t even tell anyone what the proposed council tax increase is until the middle of the meeting at which the budget is being set. Don’t the Tories realise that the more they try to hide what they’re up to the less trustworthy they look?”