Political parties unite over budget

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Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston has hailed a “historic vote” after councillors of differing political persuasions joined forces to support the council’s 2020-21 budget.

Following a wide scale public consultation – in which thousands of residents gave feedback on services and proposals – councillors voted heavily in support of the budget at a council meeting last week.

The result of 36 in favour compared to just five against meant most independent, Labour and Conservative councillors voted the same way.

Mayor Preston said: “Labour, Tory and independent councillors united for what I believe to be the first time in Middlesbrough’s modern history to achieve a landslide result of 36-5 or 88% in favour.

“It was the biggest ever majority in a Middlesbrough budget vote.”

Mr Preston believes the landslide vote produced “the best possible result for Middlesbrough and its residents.”

He said “We had already carried out the biggest public consultation in the town’s history, with many thousands of residents giving us their views on what was important to them.

“I have always promised more openness and to listen to the people of Middlesbrough. More than a thousand people completing the council consultation forms, compared to 34 last year, tells you everything.

“We listened to everyone’s feedback and, while we couldn’t meet every single view, I think we’ve given the majority of residents a budget they can be happy with whilst retaining the services most important to them.

“By increasing council tax by about £1 per week, we have been able to avoid many of the cuts to services that none of us wanted – like a reduction in school crossing patrols.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the council staff who worked on this and all the politicians who gave input and supported it – but most of all a big thank you to the people of Middlesbrough who responded with feedback in their thousands.”

 

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