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Opposition leader brands Lichfield District Council’s Budget consultation “a token gesture”

A consultation over future spending plans at Lichfield District Council has been branded “a token gesture”.

The local authority invited the public to comment on Budget proposals from November 21 to December 22.

But just 129 people responded, with Labour opposition group leader, Cllr Sue Woodward, criticising the timing of the move.

Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

“I made the point that the consultation period was far too short and, in the run-up to Christmas, completely the wrong time to consult,” she said. “Too little, too late and a waste of time, effort and resources.

“There is a duty on councils to consult residents on their spending and tax-raising plans but this was just a token gesture rather than a meaningful conversation with residents.

“None of the views of the hardy 129 residents who did take the time and trouble to respond seem to have been taken into account in this budget-making cycle either.”

Cllr Woodward said the tough financial picture facing local councils means the views of residents must be high when elected representatives are deciding where best to spend dwindling resources.

She added: “In the last district-wide consultation in 2014, high percentages of residents said that Lichfield District Council should cut its funding for a civic car and for The Garrick. The former didn’t happen and the reductions made to the latter over recent years have been minimal at best.

“On the other hand, people told Lichfield District Council how much they valued the green waste service and wanted to keep the current brown bin scheme. Well, just look what’s happened there. We’re now being charged for the privilege on top of a maximum allowable increase in council tax.

“If a council consults on its budget proposals, it has a duty to listen to what its residents say. Taking The Garrick’s funding as just one example, the net cost to the council proposed in the forthcoming budget actually increases from £503,360 this financial year to £519,320 for the 2018/19 financial year.

“I would suggest that an extra £500,000 spent on making a cleaner and more pleasant environment across the whole of the district would reflect local opinion and make us all feel better about where we live.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. Nellygb

    30th January, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Save your breath Sue, the council have never and will never take into account the views of those that they serve as it doesn’t fit in with their agenda. I would like to know how they came to the decision it was better that the leisure facilities in the district were outsourced yet still find it acceptable the Garrick continues to be subsidised to such an extent. The problem down there is that those that call the shots, due to the colossal salary they earn, invariably head out of the district every evening to go home. They don’t rely on the same services they are making the decisions to keep or axe as those that pay their wages. Until this changes we will never really see the thoughts of the tax payers sought or taken into account. How difficult is it, if you really wanted to know the views of all the “locals” not just from those living in the city, to set up an online opinions campaign. Not difficult at all but they would rather spend our money informing us that they are now going to charge us for our brown bins yet at the same time cynically raising the council tax by the maximum allowed before triggering a referendum on council tax increases in local authorities. Says it all really….just saying