Tory councillors oppose budget at Darlington Borough Council as Labour accuse them of political posturing

Tory councillors oppose budget at Darlington Borough Council as Labour accuse them of political posturing

Tory councillors oppose the budget at Darlington Borough Council as Labour accuse them of political posturing

Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative group on Darlington Borough Council

Labour's Nick Wallis

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Darlington reporter

DARLINGTON’S ruling Labour group have set a budget relying on "faith, hope and charity", the council’s opposition Conservative group have claimed.

Tory leader Heather Scott said Labour councillors at Darlington Borough Council had ignored warnings of financial risk if projected savings and income increases failed to materialise.

The Conservative position was dismissed by Labour, who accused them of opposing the budget for political reasons ahead of an election next year and failing to come up with an alternative proposal for debate.

The Tory group tonight (Thursday, February 27) voted against the budget, which was passed by a majority vote of Labour and Lib Dem councillors.

At a full council meeting, members debated the medium term financial plan (MTFP) and agreed a council tax increase of 1.94 per cent for 2014/15 and cuts of £13.8m over the next two years.

The MTFP includes plans to cut the street cleaning budget by £400,000 – including wage cuts of up to £2,000 a year for some staff – and the possible closure of Cockerton Library and Head of Steam Museum unless they are taken over by community groups by 2016.

Coun Scott said: “This budget is built on faith, hope and charity. Faith that the figures are accurate, hope that income from building new houses and rate increases will come in and the charity of the voluntary sector.

“The Tory group cannot support this budget.”

Conservative councillor Alan Coultas said: “A plan has to be assembled that can be achieved with a sustainable outcome.

“Your own financial officer states that there is a significant risk if expenditure is not reduced – this budget does not have savings that are supported by detailed plans, only hopes for success.”

In response, Labour councillor Nick Wallis said: “Coun Scott and the Tories do not give a single indicator of what they would do. What are the opposition for if they don’t provide their own proposals?"

Bill Dixon, leader of the council, said the budget would not win any beauty awards, but that there were no alternatives.

He said: “I still have aspirations for this town. You [the Conservative group] attack the premise the budget was made on, but you have no alternative. You’re long on rhetoric but short on detail.”

Coun Dixon rejected the Tory accusations that its members had not had the opportunity to come up with an alternative budget.

Comments (24)

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8:54pm Thu 27 Feb 14

capt manners says...

There's a surprise Tories voting against something which they have not contributed to again. (The budget has been discussed for long enough with them in attendance) I wish they had some spine and actually agreed on a rival parties thoughts once in a while.
The tory government is again rewarding the rich and blaming the past labour government for the countries woes. (Which I agree they did contribute to) but the real damage was done to the country by Thatchers privatisation of everything to line her rich pals pockets.
There's a surprise Tories voting against something which they have not contributed to again. (The budget has been discussed for long enough with them in attendance) I wish they had some spine and actually agreed on a rival parties thoughts once in a while. The tory government is again rewarding the rich and blaming the past labour government for the countries woes. (Which I agree they did contribute to) but the real damage was done to the country by Thatchers privatisation of everything to line her rich pals pockets. capt manners
  • Score: -20

9:27pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Mike2012 says...

WAKE UP! Labour are just as bad.... If not worse! People are still blinded from the Thatcher era.... let it go! Labour put us in ruin, yet people still vote for them?....
WAKE UP! Labour are just as bad.... If not worse! People are still blinded from the Thatcher era.... let it go! Labour put us in ruin, yet people still vote for them?.... Mike2012
  • Score: 35

10:06pm Thu 27 Feb 14

loan_star says...

I would say political posturing is raising the council tax rate by the maximum allowed without triggering a referendum.
As for the tories not putting forward an alternative, they are only doing what Labour are doing down in Westminster!
I would say political posturing is raising the council tax rate by the maximum allowed without triggering a referendum. As for the tories not putting forward an alternative, they are only doing what Labour are doing down in Westminster! loan_star
  • Score: 21

10:08pm Thu 27 Feb 14

loan_star says...

I see there are pay cuts planned too, for the workers though and not the councillors or highly paid execs. Snouts in the trough as per usual.
I see there are pay cuts planned too, for the workers though and not the councillors or highly paid execs. Snouts in the trough as per usual. loan_star
  • Score: 31

10:52pm Thu 27 Feb 14

DarloXman says...

What has to happen before something is done about our Chief Executive's (Ada Burns) obscene £186,000 annual salary?
What has to happen before something is done about our Chief Executive's (Ada Burns) obscene £186,000 annual salary? DarloXman
  • Score: 33

10:55pm Thu 27 Feb 14

behonest says...

Labour do not mention any pay cuts to the massive salaries of the Chief Executive and other senior staff at the council.

Labour do mention large wage cuts to street cleaning staff, who are low-paid workers that can least afford it.

Labour also now plan to hit all local people with the highest tax rise they can, without a referendum. So we have no say, Labour are just grabbing it.

Labour voters in a Labour heartland certainly pay a high price for having their votes taken for granted.
Labour do not mention any pay cuts to the massive salaries of the Chief Executive and other senior staff at the council. Labour do mention large wage cuts to street cleaning staff, who are low-paid workers that can least afford it. Labour also now plan to hit all local people with the highest tax rise they can, without a referendum. So we have no say, Labour are just grabbing it. Labour voters in a Labour heartland certainly pay a high price for having their votes taken for granted. behonest
  • Score: 28

2:59am Fri 28 Feb 14

Quaker Boy says...

If the Council had kept the finances in order over the years instead of spend spend spend when things were good they wouldn't be in this mess now. They acted like kids in a sweet shop just like Government. Unfortunately their reckless spending is now coming back to haunt them and the residents are being made to suffer. Just goes to show the a Council must have thought the good times would just keep going and going and didn't save for a rainy day. Wasn't Ada Burns sat on her throne during these times? She should have been fired for this. If this was a private company she would have been kicked out got gross miss management.
If the Council had kept the finances in order over the years instead of spend spend spend when things were good they wouldn't be in this mess now. They acted like kids in a sweet shop just like Government. Unfortunately their reckless spending is now coming back to haunt them and the residents are being made to suffer. Just goes to show the a Council must have thought the good times would just keep going and going and didn't save for a rainy day. Wasn't Ada Burns sat on her throne during these times? She should have been fired for this. If this was a private company she would have been kicked out got gross miss management. Quaker Boy
  • Score: 20

7:13am Fri 28 Feb 14

Darloresident says...

Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000?
She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper .
Does she really exist...
Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000? She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper . Does she really exist... Darloresident
  • Score: 19

7:28am Fri 28 Feb 14

laboursfoe says...

One of the benefits of having Labour councillors in charge is they will always stick up for the rights of the workers and not pull 'evil Tory' tricks like cut wages by upto £2,000 or close libraries......oh, wait a minute!!!!

The sooner this lot are voted out the better. Wales is starting to wake up to the fact how badly Labour run the Welsh Assembly, it's about time we started to come round!!!
One of the benefits of having Labour councillors in charge is they will always stick up for the rights of the workers and not pull 'evil Tory' tricks like cut wages by upto £2,000 or close libraries......oh, wait a minute!!!! The sooner this lot are voted out the better. Wales is starting to wake up to the fact how badly Labour run the Welsh Assembly, it's about time we started to come round!!! laboursfoe
  • Score: 22

8:54am Fri 28 Feb 14

MSG says...

Tie for the role of chief Executive to be scrapped. Why does Dixon continue to do nowt !!
Burns & Dixon need to be sacked , they have run the town into the ground !
Tie for the role of chief Executive to be scrapped. Why does Dixon continue to do nowt !! Burns & Dixon need to be sacked , they have run the town into the ground ! MSG
  • Score: 11

8:56am Fri 28 Feb 14

Homshaw1 says...

Ring the council up with a problem and you will realise there is overstaffing, several departments covering the same area, a poor work attitude and incompetence.

Other councils do a lot better. I'm just p***** off at them making the biggest increase possible without a vote. They know they would lose.
Ring the council up with a problem and you will realise there is overstaffing, several departments covering the same area, a poor work attitude and incompetence. Other councils do a lot better. I'm just p***** off at them making the biggest increase possible without a vote. They know they would lose. Homshaw1
  • Score: 8

10:01am Fri 28 Feb 14

Lifetime Townie says...

Most of the residents in the town would say, that to save money get rid of the overpaid hierarchy in the town hall as they are wasteful and inefficient but we don't hear anything from the Cons group on this point .So can we take it that the Cons support Labour to keep the present lot?????
Most of the residents in the town would say, that to save money get rid of the overpaid hierarchy in the town hall as they are wasteful and inefficient but we don't hear anything from the Cons group on this point .So can we take it that the Cons support Labour to keep the present lot????? Lifetime Townie
  • Score: 5

10:37am Fri 28 Feb 14

D. Hop says...

Dont vote for either. Vote for the smaller parties, then they may start to get the message.
Dont vote for either. Vote for the smaller parties, then they may start to get the message. D. Hop
  • Score: 9

11:12am Fri 28 Feb 14

sineater says...

The gov ernment c ut the funding ,so don't pretend they have nothing to do with it.
The gov ernment c ut the funding ,so don't pretend they have nothing to do with it. sineater
  • Score: -9

12:23pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Mike2012 says...

D. Hop wrote:
Dont vote for either. Vote for the smaller parties, then they may start to get the message.
While I do see your (valid) point, it just doesn't work. The hard choice is: Labour (where has that got us so far?) OR Conservative (Time for a change?), surely there has to be a time for a 'changing of the guard' in our town?

We've had years of ££Millions wasted on "makeovers" on the Town, Bus Routes that are now death-traps waiting to happen, BID fiasco for small business owners in the town, and (oh-yes) the new "congestion solution" £3.7m inner ring-road replacing Stonebridge roundabout!

All this in a time of "hardship" for the council coffers, yet no wage-cuts for the highest earners.... It just doesn't make any sense, PLEASE let's get them out and at least try a new party in charge!... It couldn't be any worse than it is at the moment.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: Dont vote for either. Vote for the smaller parties, then they may start to get the message.[/p][/quote]While I do see your (valid) point, it just doesn't work. The hard choice is: Labour (where has that got us so far?) OR Conservative (Time for a change?), surely there has to be a time for a 'changing of the guard' in our town? We've had years of ££Millions wasted on "makeovers" on the Town, Bus Routes that are now death-traps waiting to happen, BID fiasco for small business owners in the town, and (oh-yes) the new "congestion solution" £3.7m inner ring-road replacing Stonebridge roundabout! All this in a time of "hardship" for the council coffers, yet no wage-cuts for the highest earners.... It just doesn't make any sense, PLEASE let's get them out and at least try a new party in charge!... It couldn't be any worse than it is at the moment. Mike2012
  • Score: 9

12:38pm Fri 28 Feb 14

D. Hop says...

Time for change, agreed, but do you really think Conservative will do any better? While voting for smaller parties is counter productive, if the majority do it - the larger parties may then get the message to buck their ideas up. I realise this is probably an impossible ask, because people won't do it. But I have a point. You have to start somewhere, I for one will vote small.
Time for change, agreed, but do you really think Conservative will do any better? While voting for smaller parties is counter productive, if the majority do it - the larger parties may then get the message to buck their ideas up. I realise this is probably an impossible ask, because people won't do it. But I have a point. You have to start somewhere, I for one will vote small. D. Hop
  • Score: 5

1:04pm Fri 28 Feb 14

DURHAM CITY says...

sineater wrote:
The gov ernment c ut the funding ,so don't pretend they have nothing to do with it.
Labour are doomed
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: The gov ernment c ut the funding ,so don't pretend they have nothing to do with it.[/p][/quote]Labour are doomed DURHAM CITY
  • Score: 1

1:15pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Mike2012 says...

D. Hop wrote:
Time for change, agreed, but do you really think Conservative will do any better? While voting for smaller parties is counter productive, if the majority do it - the larger parties may then get the message to buck their ideas up. I realise this is probably an impossible ask, because people won't do it. But I have a point. You have to start somewhere, I for one will vote small.
Yes, like I said your point is definitely valid, but (as you rightly state) the majority won't do this. I don't know if the Conservatives will do any better, but I'll tick their box come the election and at least do my part to give them a chance, they deserve it more than Labour, in my opinion.
[quote][p][bold]D. Hop[/bold] wrote: Time for change, agreed, but do you really think Conservative will do any better? While voting for smaller parties is counter productive, if the majority do it - the larger parties may then get the message to buck their ideas up. I realise this is probably an impossible ask, because people won't do it. But I have a point. You have to start somewhere, I for one will vote small.[/p][/quote]Yes, like I said your point is definitely valid, but (as you rightly state) the majority won't do this. I don't know if the Conservatives will do any better, but I'll tick their box come the election and at least do my part to give them a chance, they deserve it more than Labour, in my opinion. Mike2012
  • Score: 7

2:10pm Fri 28 Feb 14

sineater says...

Durham city Don't you mean The tories are doomed,a chump like you will probably vote ukip,one of who's candidates admitted that we can't leave the e.u. without losing jobs ,who's doomed now little man ?
Durham city Don't you mean The tories are doomed,a chump like you will probably vote ukip,one of who's candidates admitted that we can't leave the e.u. without losing jobs ,who's doomed now little man ? sineater
  • Score: -9

2:24pm Fri 28 Feb 14

laboursfoe says...

sineater wrote:
Durham city Don't you mean The tories are doomed,a chump like you will probably vote ukip,one of who's candidates admitted that we can't leave the e.u. without losing jobs ,who's doomed now little man ?
Woooo, cool your jets.

Somethings got you rattled recently. Whats up?? Not quite as confident about next May??
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: Durham city Don't you mean The tories are doomed,a chump like you will probably vote ukip,one of who's candidates admitted that we can't leave the e.u. without losing jobs ,who's doomed now little man ?[/p][/quote]Woooo, cool your jets. Somethings got you rattled recently. Whats up?? Not quite as confident about next May?? laboursfoe
  • Score: 4

5:36pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Spy Boy says...

Mike2012 wrote:
WAKE UP! Labour are just as bad.... If not worse! People are still blinded from the Thatcher era.... let it go! Labour put us in ruin, yet people still vote for them?....
Not quite : Thatcher wrecked the country and started the rot. That's about all you could expect of the vindictive old baggage. New Labour had the chance to turn it around, but instead they carried on with Thatcher's demolition job. They have just not done enough to safeguard the country and its people. That was pretty bad, but then along come the next batch of gormless career politicians, Cameron and Clegg, the only pantomime horse with two arses, and they just take it a step further. Cameron is backed by the privileged and does has he wants* and Clegg runs along after him like a little kid who wants his ball back. (* Unless Mr Obama tells him otherwise. )

Darlington's budget is a shambles and a lot of that is down to this inept council. They have bargained on having endless funds dropped in their laps and now that they have dried up, courtesy of Cameron and Clegg, they are realising that the gravy train has hit the buffers and they need to be more realistic. So much of our money has been wasted by this ineffectual bunch in the past and it is really hitting us hard now. Had they got their house in order during the 'Good' time, and made less stupid and costly mistakes, we would all be in a much better position today. We accept that Dill Bixon and Wick Nollis are just ungifted amateurs meddling in things that are way over their heads, but were are the professionals that should have kept them in check ? The likes of Buns and Allty and all the other overpaid executives. If they can't keep the budget on track, why are they even there.

That's a photo of Nick Wallis in the Glass Corridor of the building he closed. The old Arts Centre. The fact that he is the member for Wheelie Bins and the Arts speaks volumes. We lose the arts and get wheelie bins. I notice also, that the forcast I made about a two tier system for wheelie bins has come to pass on two points. One : That the collection would move to a 2 Weekly one within 12 months and Two : That the bin lorry can't actually get into a number of the alleys and lanes and these bins have to be dragged 100 yards, or more to be emptied into the back of a Transit van, or pickup. If I knew this, why didn't Wallis ? We're getting even more bins now, so that's Cockerton Library and Head of Steam sold off to pay for them. Another wonderful outcome for Wallis.
[quote][p][bold]Mike2012[/bold] wrote: WAKE UP! Labour are just as bad.... If not worse! People are still blinded from the Thatcher era.... let it go! Labour put us in ruin, yet people still vote for them?....[/p][/quote]Not quite : Thatcher wrecked the country and started the rot. That's about all you could expect of the vindictive old baggage. New Labour had the chance to turn it around, but instead they carried on with Thatcher's demolition job. They have just not done enough to safeguard the country and its people. That was pretty bad, but then along come the next batch of gormless career politicians, Cameron and Clegg, the only pantomime horse with two arses, and they just take it a step further. Cameron is backed by the privileged and does has he wants* and Clegg runs along after him like a little kid who wants his ball back. (* Unless Mr Obama tells him otherwise. ) Darlington's budget is a shambles and a lot of that is down to this inept council. They have bargained on having endless funds dropped in their laps and now that they have dried up, courtesy of Cameron and Clegg, they are realising that the gravy train has hit the buffers and they need to be more realistic. So much of our money has been wasted by this ineffectual bunch in the past and it is really hitting us hard now. Had they got their house in order during the 'Good' time, and made less stupid and costly mistakes, we would all be in a much better position today. We accept that Dill Bixon and Wick Nollis are just ungifted amateurs meddling in things that are way over their heads, but were are the professionals that should have kept them in check ? The likes of Buns and Allty and all the other overpaid executives. If they can't keep the budget on track, why are they even there. That's a photo of Nick Wallis in the Glass Corridor of the building he closed. The old Arts Centre. The fact that he is the member for Wheelie Bins and the Arts speaks volumes. We lose the arts and get wheelie bins. I notice also, that the forcast I made about a two tier system for wheelie bins has come to pass on two points. One : That the collection would move to a 2 Weekly one within 12 months and Two : That the bin lorry can't actually get into a number of the alleys and lanes and these bins have to be dragged 100 yards, or more to be emptied into the back of a Transit van, or pickup. If I knew this, why didn't Wallis ? We're getting even more bins now, so that's Cockerton Library and Head of Steam sold off to pay for them. Another wonderful outcome for Wallis. Spy Boy
  • Score: 1

4:30pm Sat 1 Mar 14

oliviaden6 says...

I started calling this council and it's officers Bill & His Buddies, Bill Dixon is running Darlington on his own it appears, his head seems to be above the parra pit regarding every thing is it a case we shall have to request permission as to how much toilet paper we can use? This Town has been dealt a huge disservice by this bunch of Bandits. It is time to oust them and bring back a council that wants to be realistic and MOST of all Honest with the Electorate. Darlington is slipping into a hole of debt and brought on by mismanagement and double deling enough is enough.
I started calling this council and it's officers Bill & His Buddies, Bill Dixon is running Darlington on his own it appears, his head seems to be above the parra pit regarding every thing is it a case we shall have to request permission as to how much toilet paper we can use? This Town has been dealt a huge disservice by this bunch of Bandits. It is time to oust them and bring back a council that wants to be realistic and MOST of all Honest with the Electorate. Darlington is slipping into a hole of debt and brought on by mismanagement and double deling enough is enough. oliviaden6
  • Score: 3

9:54pm Sat 1 Mar 14

spragger says...

Darloresident wrote:
Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000?
She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper .
Does she really exist...
Oh she exists all right but that £180,000 is only half of her cost, we are taxed so she can pay tax & NICS, there is also her huge pension contributions we have to cough up.

One thing you are correct about is no taxpayer would miss her.

She should be sacked because of growing a huge, non delivering organisation which is now such a burden on the few remaining net taxpayers.
The savings would be around £300,000 per year, year on year
[quote][p][bold]Darloresident[/bold] wrote: Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000? She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper . Does she really exist...[/p][/quote]Oh she exists all right but that £180,000 is only half of her cost, we are taxed so she can pay tax & NICS, there is also her huge pension contributions we have to cough up. One thing you are correct about is no taxpayer would miss her. She should be sacked because of growing a huge, non delivering organisation which is now such a burden on the few remaining net taxpayers. The savings would be around £300,000 per year, year on year spragger
  • Score: 3

9:54pm Sat 1 Mar 14

spragger says...

Darloresident wrote:
Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000?
She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper .
Does she really exist...
Oh she exists all right but that £180,000 is only half of her cost, we are taxed so she can pay tax & NICS, there is also her huge pension contributions we have to cough up.

One thing you are correct about is no taxpayer would miss her.

She should be sacked because of growing a huge, non delivering organisation which is now such a burden on the few remaining net taxpayers.
The savings would be around £300,000 per year, year on year
[quote][p][bold]Darloresident[/bold] wrote: Who is Ada Burns? what does she actually do?? what do we get for our £180,000? She does a good job of staying below the radar.Never seems to comment or has her picture in the paper . Does she really exist...[/p][/quote]Oh she exists all right but that £180,000 is only half of her cost, we are taxed so she can pay tax & NICS, there is also her huge pension contributions we have to cough up. One thing you are correct about is no taxpayer would miss her. She should be sacked because of growing a huge, non delivering organisation which is now such a burden on the few remaining net taxpayers. The savings would be around £300,000 per year, year on year spragger
  • Score: 4

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