Scarborough councillor hits out at Government over austerity

Councillor Bill Chatt has criticised the government over austerity
Councillor Bill Chatt has criticised the government over austerity

A Scarborough councillor has accused the Government of forgetting about the north as the borough council looks to make a further £5 million in savings over the next three years.

Cllr Bill Chatt (independent) who is the authority’s portfolio holder for public health and housing, told today’s cabinet meeting that “the jar was empty” as the authority looks to up residents’ council tax bills.

Residents could see a 2.99% council tax increase under draft budget proposals for the year 2019/20, the equivalent of an extra £6.82 for a Band D property.

The council has indicated it would likely also need to increase bills by the maximum amount allowed for the two following years.

Cllr Bill Chatt said that claims that austerity was at an end were ringing hollow for councils in the north of England.

He said: “We did hear that austerity is over and done with but here with are having already saved about £18million since 2010 and not got to look to save another £4.783 million.

“Austerity is over for who? Because it is not over for the north of England it must be the south of England.

“I just feel like all the time that councils are under pressure to make savings and investments to do things to provide the services we have got.

“I understand people out there get frustrated I really do but to be quite honest as it is a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul but Peter has moved away so there is nobody out there to help.

“The jar is empty but we are still having to make substantial savings. I just worry that central Government doesn’t realise that there is anything north of Watford Gap and I think they need to realise that the north of England is probably more productive than the south of England.”

The cabinet approved the draft budget for the next three years.

Cllr Helen Mallory (Con) the portfolio holder for corporate investment, told her fellow councillors that the decision was “the start of the process” and urged them and the residents of the borough to get involved with the consultation over the budget.

The council tax and budget decision will be taken by the full authority in March next year.