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Southampton City Council to approves £14.4m worth of cuts
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- Council debate due to start at 2pm
- Ruling Labour group has out forward its budget plans
- Opposition have alternative budgets to be considered
A single shout of "shame on you" came down from the public gallery as the result of he the vote was confirmed. Only Labour voted for the budget, but due to the party's majority, the fact that all of he them voted for it got it over the line.
And Labour.'s budget had been approved, meaning the axe will fall on £14.4million of cuts from April.
Council tax will rise by 1.9 per cent too, meaning the annual bill for a Band D property will rise from £1,475 to £1,500.
The Lib Dem alternative budget is defeated, with only the two Lib Dem members voting for it.
Now it's time for the voting...
His colleague, Keith Morrell, has warned that following this year's budget there is now "nowhere for the council to hide" and that frontline services will be "brutalised" in subsequent years.
So now the Cllr against the cuts claim to be a good friend of the Leader, he's popular !— @Jacwee67 12 February 2014
Finally it's the turn of Putting People First, formerly Councillors Against The Cuts.
Don Thomas says there is an alternative to approving the cuts, and implored his former Labour colleagues to vote against the budget.
Cllr Letts had earlier defended his group's record in "enhancing" Southampton by pointing to the Arts Complex, which work started on last year, and the Watermark West Quay project, which will begin in the autumn.
He also criticised Government funding cuts which he said had disproportionately hit Southampton in comparison with its more affluent neighbour, Winchester.
He says the changes would be funded by cutting spending on capital projects, reducing councillors' allowances, adding the late night levy on bars - recently put forward by Labour - and accepting the Government's grant to freeze council tax.
He says his party's proposals are "radical, fair and responsible"
He says his party's alternatives to Labour's budget include repealing cuts to the City Patrol and out of hours noise response, and investing in street cleaning.
He says his party's budget would see 20 fewer redundancies and provide support for the most vulnerable.
Now it is the Liberal Democrats' turn, with leader Adrian Vinson rising to his feet to speak.
He says the Conservative proposals "don't add up" and says they failed "lamentably" in power.
Tory leader Royston Smith is now speaking.
He has accused Labour of "hypocrisy" by increasing the council cabinet by 50 per cent while cutting the workforce by 1 per cent, and of creating a cost of living crisis in Southampton
Labour leader Simon Letts had earlier criticised the Government for cutting funds, and for making the council liable to pay business rate appeals back to 2005.
He described the budget as "an excellent budget with minimum job losses and minimum service reductions"
He says the Tories would accept an £800,000 Government grant to freeze council tax, put more money into street cleaning and would reverse cuts to the out of hours noise service, community centres, the City Patrol and the hours at The Tudor House museum.
Cllr Hannides is heckled at points during his speech, especially when he declares the Tories to be the "party of the people".
He says his party would fund their proposals by selling artwork, sharing services with other authorities, increasing outsourcing and reducing the number of councillors by a third
Conservative finance spokesman John Hannides is now speaking.
He has accused Labour of lacking leadership and doing a "hatchet job" on services.
Leader Simon Letts has formally seconded the budget.
Sitting in on Southampton council's budget. This city has received cuts of £148/head whilst more affluent Winchester nearby has lost £27.— @RowennaDavis 12 February 2014
Cllr Barnes-Andrews also said consultation with Hammerson and Red Funnel will take place on the future of the CityLink free bus service, which is having a £110,000 fund withdrawn.
He says council bosses took note of the consultation carried out, saying two Museums and Galleries Education Team staff members will have their jobs saved, while the mayor's number plate has been saved from a proposed sale.
He says that once vacant and deleted posts are taken into account, 35 people could be made redundant.
He says efficiencies have been made and vacant job posts deleted where possible, but that the council is "probably running to the end of the line" on that strategy.
He says the council has saved £50million since 2010.
He said: "The approach we have taken is to be as efficient as possible."
Cllr Barnes-Andrews is now formally moving the city's budget for 2014/15.
Director of Corporate Services Mark Heath is currently going through procedures for the meeting ahead of he the budget debate starting proper.
The meeting is kicked off by a deputation from resident Ann McGillivray, who has asked the council to back her plan to develop "products" for Southampton by supporting artists and designers.
Finance chief Stephen Barnes-Andrews says he will provide a written response to her deputation but says that it may be "difficult" for the council to answer some of her requests.
These are some of the key figures from the proposed budget.
City Sheriff Sue Blatchford will preside over today's meeting as Mayor Ivan White's mum is unwell.
She starts the meeting by warning that she will "poke" anyone with the 113-year-old sheriff's wand if they misbehave.
Socialist Party campaigners wisely decided to move their protest indoors rather than facing the winds swirling around the Civic Centre.
One of them, Declan Clune, said: "we are here to support Putting People First.
"These cuts are not necessary, there are alternatives to explore but this council just seems intent on pushing through the cuts.
"Nothing is safe, every service is in the firing line."
The Civic Centre council chamber is starting to fill up ahead of the start of the budget-setting meeting at 2pm
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