Cannock Chase Council agrees amended budget

Councillors in Cannock Chase have agreed a budget for the next financial year after alternative proposals were put forward by opposition members.

Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road
Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road

Earlier this month the opposition Conservative group narrowly won a vote to have its budget proposals considered by the cabinet, which resulted in an amendment.

Cabinet members agreed to add a £50,000 annual capital scheme for development of new play areas and the refurbishment of existing play areas, open spaces, and leisure facilities.

But the controlling Labour group on the authority opted to introduce tablets and training for new councillors from May, rather than scrapping the existing £400 members’ IT allowance as called for in the alternative budget. Existing councillors can opt to swap their allowance for a tablet however.

On Wednesday, Cannock Chase Council met again to reconsider the budget for 2021/22 and the amended version put forward by the controlling group was passed.

Residents will see the tax they pay for district council services go up by 1.95, meaning Band D households will have a bill of £225.64 for 2021/22. They will also pay contributions to Staffordshire Council, which is increasing its tax by 4.99 per cent and police and fire services – as well as a town or parish precept if they live in an area with a town or parish council.

Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson said: “The original budget for 2021/22 of this administration was set against a background of uncertainty, with the impact of Covid-19 not known and future funding for local government yet to be determined.

“Our budget attempted to put stability into this environment, it provided for the maintenance of services. This does come at a cost with additional financial support being required by our leisure provider.

“The budget also provided initiatives that are key to the economic recovery of the district and the health and well-being of our residents. Funding was provided for the Economic Recovery Strategy and to address the infrastructure around our open spaces.

“It was, and still is, a prudent budget that not only maintains existing service provision but provides the framework for investment to secure the long-term financial sustainability of the council at a price our residents can afford.”


Councillor Olivia Lyons, leader of the Conservative opposition group, said: “I think our role here is to make the district the best it can be. I hope the council continues to do all it can to support residents and local businesses.

“When I read through the new amended proposals I was pleased some of our proposals were supported. While I’m delighted amendments have been made it is a shame not one Labour councillor voted willingly to refer our proposals (to cabinet).

“With regard to the IT allowance, this is something we have suggested in our budget for the last three years. What is proposed is halfway there.

“I feel there is unwillingness to change and there are some aspects of the council that are stuck in the past. We have got to move forward.”

Another proposal in the alternative budget was for funds to be earmarked in the council’s capital programme towards the refurbishment of the Elmore Park toilet block in Rugeley.

Councillor Lyons said: “We’re asking for running water – I don’t think that’s asking for too much. I think it’s incredibly disappointing that Rugeley councillors have not fought for this to be included.”

But Councillor Adamson said: “This is not an alternative scheme but effectively one of prioritisation, but in the context of not knowing what the true cost of the scheme is.”

He added that cabinet had agreed in January 30 to allocate £10,000 towards a feasibility study to assess the costs of a refurbishment scheme.

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