Bexley’s Conservative Council will have a balanced budget in 2021/22 following the publication of the draft plans.
It means absurd claims by Labour Councillors and supporters that the Council was about to go bankrupt have been proven wrong – for the seventh year in a row.
Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said:
“This has been a challenging year for everyone, and the impact of COVID19 on the Council’s finances has been felt across all our services, and it’s impact will continue to be felt for some time yet.
In the summer it was predicted we would have a budget gap of £20m, then by October we had reduced that to less than six million, and now we are able to confirm we will have a balanced budget for next year.
Our job is not just to set a balanced budget; our job and our agenda remains the same now as it does every year – to invest in the long term future of the Borough we all love, continue to provide top rated services and go out and secure investment for Bexley.
Everyone has calmly worked hard over recent months to secure this budget plan, while also trying to address the impact of Covid – delivering over 3,300 meals to vulnerable residents, securing 690,000 pieces of PPE and still maintain services which continue to be rated as among the best in the country.”
The Cabinet’s budget proposals were discussed at their meeting on December 15th, at which meeting Labour Councillors were unable to set out their own budget ideas so they can be considered before the final decisions are made in March.
The budget papers can be read in full here:
This latest stage of the budget setting process follows several weeks of fictional claims being made about the position of the Council finances, with a series of claims by Labour Cllrs and their supporters that the Council is about to go out of business.
Cllr David Leaf, Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“Over last few weeks we’ve seen Labour Councillors, Labour Members and supporters and even the BBC and Guardian newspaper make claims about the Council that were entirely untrue.
There have never been a risk of the Council being declared bankrupt and there has been no financial crisis.
We have set out each stage of the budget process as we go, in full, line by line, item by item for everyone to read and shown our resolve to address the financial challenges we face in these uncertain times.
If those who made these claims had actually read the documents instead of spinning lines, they would have seen the progress we have made, month by month.”
In recent weeks the Labour run Council in Croydon has been declared bankrupt – twice – having run up a £70m+ budget gap; Labour run Transport For London has been declared bankrupt twice as well, and right now neighbouring Labour run Councils like Lewisham has a £24m budget gap and Greenwich has a £60m gap – and neither will be even presenting final budget proposals until well in to 2021.