Redbridge Council’s budget approved during heated meeting

The council’s 2013/14 budget was approved during a heated meeting last night in Redbridge Town Hall.

Councillors gathered to finalise and approve the budget detailing spending and cuts over the next financial year.

The Labour group – the opposition party – was criticised for not proposing amendments to the budget.

Instead, 21 Labour councillors abstained from the vote to approve the revenue budget.

But support from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – who run the council as part of a coalition – was enough to see it and other parts of the budget through.

Defending the abstentions, Labour deputy leader Cllr Wes Streeting said is was hard to vote for something tabled in a “hugely complimentary and self congratulatory way”.

His party leader Cllr Jas Athwal earlier warned of “storm clouds” brewing after the 2014 election and urged the leadership to “think beyond” 2014.

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But Conservative Cllr Nick Hayes, addressing Labour’s decision not to propose any budget amendments, said: “Yet again they have nothing to say and nothing to contribute”.

Budget proposals approved include increased charges for some parking in the borough and a merger of social work teams.

Council tax will be frozen for the fourth consecutive year.

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