Last night, Sutton Council’s Liberal Democrat establishment rejected our fully-costed plans to cut the council tax by nearly 2% this year, and to freeze the tax for three years in a row thereafter. In a stunning act of arrogance one longstanding Liberal Democrat councillor said it was “a privilege to pay council tax” in an embarrassing outburst.

Above, you can read the budget response given by the Conservatives’ Finance and Value for Money Spokesman, Councillor Tim Crowley as he presented a costed Alternative Budget with details to cut the council tax by 1.75% and to provide a raft of new ground-breaking proposals.

Among the new positive proposals in the Alternative Budget were plans for a rewards scheme to pay residents for the amount of waste they recycle, an Armed Forces council tax discount of 50% and a new priority card for Sutton residents providing discounts in local shops and businesses, plus preferential rates for council services such as leisure centres, parking and theatres.

The Liberal Democrats’ budget provision for a council tax freeze was described as an election ploy after years of punishing above inflation increases. But an extraordinary outburst from Wallington Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Bailey left the Council’s leadership team red-faced when he described the payment of council tax as a “privilege”.

Councillor Crowley outlined savings which included reductions in the Council’s reliance on outside consultants, streamlining communications work, making Sutton Scene magazine entirely self-funding, and a freeze in additional staff recruitment with net savings of £1.472m – the same amount needed to cut council tax by 1.75%.

Commenting Tim Crowley said: “When the Liberal Democrats voted against our Budget they voted against a cut in council tax, against increased investment in training for adult social services, against a residents’ priority card for services and shops, and against a 50% discount for British soldiers on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We know what they are against but what are they for? Our Budget provides positive plans to put more money in residents’ pockets and to roll out a range of new popular proposals. It’s a shame that the Liberal Democrats could not put residents first and politics second to vote for this forward-thinking budget.”