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Basildon Council passes budget whilst opposition alternative is rejected

14th February 2020
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

No rise in council tax, money to continue lighting the borough’s streets through the night and investment in new facilities and positive activities for young people – these are some of the measures contained in the budget for 2020/21 agreed by Basildon Council last night.

Alongside investment in priority areas, the budget also includes measures aimed at reducing expenditure and increasing income to provide funds to support essential services.

Leader of Basildon Council Gavin Callaghan said:

“Over the last few months we have worked incredibly hard to extract more money from new and emerging commercial opportunities. Allied to that, our existing commercial deals are performing better than anticipated. So we have been able to freeze council tax at last year’s level and invest to meet the needs of residents now and into the future.

“Our budget has young people, regeneration, community safety and protecting our most vulnerable at its heart.”

Measures agreed last night include:

  • a £25m boost to the long-term house building programme
  • £275,000 to keep the street lights on through the night across the borough (this figure will come down, possibly by as much as 40%, once LED lighting has been installed, work that is scheduled in the coming year)
  • £4.1m capital investment in a Basildon Youth Zone to provide somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to for all the borough’s young people
  • Two new Pride teams to clean up housing estates
  • £10m over four years to digitalise council services making them smarter, simpler and safer for everyone to use and reduce long-term costs
  • £10m for Wickford town centre multi-storey car park and masterplan
  • £50,000 for final stages of development of Hovefields and Honiley and Bowers Gifford neighbourhoods’ plans
  • an extra £500,000 for aids and adaptations to support disabled and elderly people to stay in their own homes
  • funding for a summer canteen to support schools to provide meals for students during the six-week summer holiday.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives proposed their alternative to the Alliance’s budget. Cllr Stuart Sullivan, Conservatives Spokesman for Resources, proposed:

  • A 2% CUT in Council Tax, lightening the tax burden on hard-working families within the Borough.
  • £50K to undertake a borough-wide review of Parking and a much-needed £3m investment in Parking Provision.
  • £50K to fund the VE/VJ DAY 75th anniversary commemorations.
  • A £2m Infrastructure First Fund, ensuring housing development is coupled with adequate services to cater for them and existing residents.
  • An £850K High Streets & Neighbourhoods Fund for public realm improvements around the Borough.
  • A £500K investment in our Community Halls borough-wide, giving our community groups better facilities to host events and community meetings.

The Conservative budget was rejected by Basildon Council.