Coun Martyn Rawlinson set to give speech on budget for Preston

Coun Martyn Rawlinson set to give speech on budget for Preston
Coun Martyn Rawlinson set to give speech on budget for Preston
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Budget proposals for the next financial year in Preston are to be presented at Town Hall tonight.

The plans outline the city’s priorities including areas of saving and spending.

Coun Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources and performance, is expected to present the budget and policy proposals to members of the city authority during the meeting, which starts at 6pm.

In his speech he is expected to say: “This budget is about using the resources available to Preston Council for the maximum achievable benefit for the people of Preston.

“As everyone knows, since 2011 the government have absolved themselves of responsibility for local services by phasing out the funding of local services from central taxation. Preston Council’s grant from government has fallen from £18million pounds a year to zero. Alongside this, the government have increased local government responsibilities for supporting the homeless, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed through welfare reform, scrapping council tax benefit and crisis loans and passing responsibilities on to councils, without providing adequate funding to take on these responsibilities.

“Preston Council’s proposed council tax rise of 2.99 per cent is just one quarter of a percent above inflation and will cost a Band D taxpayer just 18 pence per week extra. All of the extra, above inflation, revenue raised is going to be spent on policies that will make Preston a more fair and equal city. No further service cuts are planned until we see the outcome of the government’s Fair Funding Review on Business Rates redistribution; this is a major risk for Preston Council, alongside Brexit, and makes a council tax rise inevitable.

“While the house building figures in Preston are helping our budget, it is unclear if this will lead to greater prosperity for everyone in Preston long term. Therefore we are proposing to develop the Preston Model policies of the creation of a regional bank with co-operative principles and the creation of more worker co-op businesses in Preston. These policies, alongside the Living Wage Policy will trap more wealth in Preston and give workers more power over their own families futures.

“Preston Labour’s management of the council’s finances during the most vicious attack on local government funding in history, has allowed us to invest in Preston’s regeneration of the market and the planned cinema, restaurant and car park development which will be a publicly owned asset at the end of the financing period.

“The sky is the limit for Preston’s ambitions of a vibrant, thriving and egalitarian economy and society. We are on the cusp of something amazing and we hope the people of Preston will understand our reasoning and support our plans.”