I won’t go through it all point by point, as that’s too much for even the most hardened political nerd, so I’ll just raise the main pierces of interest.
An issue that I brought up at Overview and Scrutiny Committee about the reasoning behind the council’s list of approved countries for investment, was also echoed by a Lib Dem cllr. She requested that Hong Kong be removed from that list and another councillor requested that the United Arab Emirates also be removed. This amendment passed and the finance officer reminded Council that Cllrs can edit this list at any time as it is not set in stone.
The main bone of contention was the budget, though, with the Tories proposing a Council Tax increase, rather than support the Lib Dem ammendment to draw on the council’s reserves to fund a 1 year freeze. There was much heated debate and my contribution was to state that our percentage increase was higher than neighbouring Norwich City Council and that combined with a less generous local benefits award, was a particularly bad combination at this trying time. I noted that drawing from reserves was not ideal but I would sooner support that than making already hard pressed residents pay. I also commented that they should really be effectively lobbying central government to
make sure local councils are properly funded. As a point of reference, Broadland District Council is not “poor”, it actually has millions in the bank so could well afford it.
An associated sticking point was the suggestion of increasing the Member’s Grant from £500 to £1000 in line with South Norfolk, but this was rejected, likewise a community grant scheme, on the grounds that there is a community lottery. Yet again the Conservatives are wanting essential support services to be paid for by the generosity of the British public and the tenacity and dedication of charities.