Last week’s Richmond Borough Council Meeting to agree the Budget saw the Lib Dem administration push through a 3.8% council tax rise despite a budget underspend this year of £2.3m.
The Conservative Group highlighted concerns over the potential spiralling costs of the proposed Twickenham Riverside Development, where the estimated net costs are not being made publicly available. A suggestion by the Conservative Group to cap these costs at £3m was rejected meaning that several millions of residents’ council tax could be committed to the project.
Meanwhile many of our older and vulnerable residents will be paying the price, with users of Day Care Centres set to see the cost of using those centres and transport to them going up by 11%; and getting rid of the 6-month free introductory period for careline, the alarm service that allows vulnerable clients to connect to a 24-hour response service by activating a pendant alarm.
The budget agreed by the Lib Dem administration shows a lack of planning and poor long term management, with proposed climate change actions totally un-costed and no idea whether funds set aside will be sufficient, nor any support for those on lower incomes to adapt in order to avoid future charges to meet climate change objectives.
The transport budget for the borough overspent by £1/2m this year, and next year’s plans show insufficient investment in roads and pavements to bring them up to a good standard, and no plan to deal with increasing congestion across the borough.
Cllr Aphra Brandreth spokesperson on finance for the Conservative Group said “The Conservative Group put forward an amendment which would see us spending significantly more on climate change, mental health, bringing all roads and pavements in the borough up to a good standard, all while having a significantly lower council tax increase. The lack of transparency over the proposed Twickenham Riverside Development is really concerning, with the potential for residents in the borough to foot the bill for net costs of a project which could run into the millions.”