03:42AM, Wednesday 29 February 2012
A cheque for £15.35 formed part of an eleventh-hour stand against the Tories as the Royal Borough's 2012/13 budget was approved last night.
Tempers frayed at a council meeting at Windsor Guildhall as opposition councillors spoke out against the financial plans for the coming year, including the 1.5 per cent council tax cut.
But when it came to the vote they were swept away by a blue majority to mumblings of 'where are the opposition?' from the public gallery.
The budget was presented by Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham), cabinet member for finance, who attributed the tax cut to 'careful management and a firm strategy'.
But Cllr Lynne Jones (Old Windsor Residents' Association, Old Windsor) questioned the 'headline-grabbing tax cuts', suggesting a tax freeze would be more prudent.
Cllr John Fido (West Windsor Independent Group, Clewer North) echoed her sentiments by thrusting a cheque for £15.35 - representing Band D council tax savings - towards the mayor for future use.
While extra funds have been included in the budget for adult services, including £2.5m for adult social care, savings have had to be made in other areas.
These include a £1.3m reduction in the children's services budget, although funds for safeguarding children have been increased.
Questions were also raised by members of the opposition over who truly benefits from the budget, with fears raised that it will impact on vulnerable residents the most.
But council leader David Burbage (Con, Bray) labelled it as 'sensible and rational' and when it was put to vote all 42 Conservative members present stood in favour of its approval.
All six opposition members chose to abstain.
Read a full report from the meeting in tomorrow's Advertiser and Friday's Express.
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