A lively debate ensued at Wokingham Borough’s Council meeting as the Lib Dems proposed that the Council should commit to two clear priorities when setting the budget.
The Lib Dems proposed that the Council should prioritise the provision of services for the benefit of the public and value for money for residents. Councillor Lindsay Ferris explained “focusing on these two priorities would help the Conservatives avoid making decisions using the wrong priorities, which happened in July when they decided to pay themselves more at the same time as deciding to cut local youth services. It is clear that next year’s budget is going to be tough and may require a more radical approach but at the moment the Conservatives have the wrong priorities.”
Cllr Dee Tomlin who proposed the motion slammed the Council Leader with a quote from Mr Lee who said previously “Finance openness is not a priority for Council.” Dee said “why is it that after all these years during which the Lib Dems have cried out for inclusion in the budget process the Conservatives are only now saying they might involve us – just when things are really tough? We disagree with the Conservatives’ priorities – paying themselves while cutting services, ignoring the Independent Remuneration Panel, rolling the dice on the Town Centre Regeneration project and missing opportunities to vastly improve the Council’s contract management.”
The Conservatives amended the motion so that it put less emphasis on value for money and services for residents.