Council leader Liz Green announced a “tough but fair” £12 million budget cut this year as the government stopped funding the council, in a recent video.
The brutal budget cut is the first for this Lib Dem council. Cllr Liz Green also announced a council tax rise by 4.99%, or £1.40 a week for a band D property, to “protect the most vulnerable residents and services.”
She said: “The burden of paying for these services falls to us, council tax-payers. We need to make sure that Kingston Council is on a sustainable financial footing for the future.”
The cuts will include: £500,000 over the next two years for non-statutory care services; £140,000 by closing Woodbury residential care home, and £45,000 by closing Chamberlain Way accommodation for people with learning disabilities; and a £37,000 reduction in voluntary grants.
Equally, all parking charges will rise by 5%, raising the cost of a 12-month resident parking permit from £90 to £94.5 a year, and 24-hour visitor permits from £3 to £3.15.
The council also plans to set aside £445,000 to prepare for Brexit.
Cllr Liz Green said: “We are making sure that our reserves are sufficient to cover the risks that we might face, and we have put in a contingency to cover Brexit in whatever form that may or may not take.”
The budget cut has been highly criticized by the Conservative council opposition.
Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Kevin Davis said: “This is a budget designed to whack the poor and vulnerable with higher taxes and cuts to vital services whilst they slash away at the universal services we all use.”
On a more positive note, Cllr Liz Green said that the council would welcome some “exciting projects” this year, such as: a new dementia care home, free resident parking permits for hybrid and electric car owners, new “truly affordable” homes, and extra school places for children.