Cabinet members at Thanet District Council have endorsed the proposed budget for the financial year 2022-23.
The budget will proceed to a Full Council meeting on Thursday, February 10 for final approval.
The Cabinet considered three proposals for alternative uses of the £525k New Homes Bonus allocation which had been put forward by the Labour group and were then backed by the Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
The proposals were:
To allocate up to £125,000 from the New Homes Bonus for the capital works required to the Ramsgate East Cliff and Viking Bay lifts to ensure they are in full working order for the foreseeable future;
To allocate the full remainder of the New Homes Bonus as capital to provide additional in-house temporary accommodation;
To transfer £200,000 from the risk management reserve to a new climate risk and opportunity reserve.
Following careful consideration, members of the Cabinet determined not to adjust the budget to accommodate the proposals.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr David Saunders, said: “The council has a statutory duty to deliver a balanced budget. As a result of careful and efficient planning, we are endorsing a budget that does exactly that. Whilst additional funding from the Government is welcomed, we have to allocate this in the most appropriate and prudent way.
“Much like our colleagues on the Overview and Scrutiny Panel, we see the pressures being placed on our housing supply, the importance of restoring our seaside lifts and the need to continue supporting our climate change agenda. Indeed, we have robust and more viable plans already in place to support each of these important areas.
“Given ongoing uncertainty around the future of local government funding, our priority now absolutely has to be ensuring we have a solid financial footing to support us over the coming years. This will be essential if we are to continue to deliver vital public services and support our most vulnerable residents. It is for that reason we will be presenting our budget as it stands to the council next month.”
At the Cabinet meeting on Thursday (January 27) Cllr Saunders said although a new climate risk reserve would not be created monies would be available in the risk management reserve to use on an “as and when needed basis” for climate projects and that Thanet council was also looking for external funding for this area.
Labour’s Cllr Helen Whitehead spoke about the amendment for money to be used to extend in-house temporary accommodation. She said the proposal would reduce out of area placements and also lower ongoing costs.
She added: “I strongly believe this is, long term, a more cost effective choice than simply setting aside the new homes bonus.”
She said the amendment was “socially, logically and financially prudent,” and that she had “hoped not to have to fight for it.”
She added: “We have to extend our in-house temporary accommodation provision in all forms both to help residents and to reduce extensive and expensive future costs.”
However, Cllr Saunders said the approx. £400,000 that could be used from the New Homes Bonus was not sufficient to deliver further schemes. He added that following completion of the £1.6million project at Foy House to provide 8 flats, Thanet council would: “Consider further projects to build a larger and more cost effective portfolio.”
On the proposal to use part of the New Homes Bonus money to fix the lifts at Ramsgate and Viking Bay, he said some £230,000 was needed plus money for ongoing maintenance and management.
He added that a strategy for the lifts was underway and money had been pledged for the project to have at least Viking Bay operation long-term.
Green Party’s Cllr Tricia Austin said her party had backed the amendments. She said: “We are very concerned about the housing situation, In my own ward we have got three new couples living in their cars this week and I am sure that is reflected in other areas across the isle.”
She added that the party was happy to hear of budget flexibility for climate change schemes but wanted to make sure opportunities for external funding were not missed. Cllr Austin also suggested a focus on developing skills to retrofit houses and a need to consider an electric waste vehicle that would also be smaller and so able to manage narrow streets.
every one talks about getting these lifts back in operaton , nobody has mentioned the wages of the lift attendent that was always in place when they used to work regularly ?
This is quite simply not good enough. There should be FOUR working lifts for visitors to Thanet’s seafronts, not just two. We also need toilets open all year round, particularly the ones miles away from anything else (Dumpton, Joss, Botany, etc).
I can’t imagine that closing unattended public toilets during winter months even saves much money, yet people walk those bays every day of the year.
Why on earth was 1.6 million spent at Foy house to create just 8 flats, when the council could have bought back ex rtb flats on the open market for far less? Ie they could have bought more homes for the same money plus sold off Foy house and used the money to buy more again. Is there not a single person in TDC with even a modicum of common sense?
Oh! The irony! Suggesting the council buy back council houses they’d been forced to sell off under Thatcher’s scheme?
Can they buy them back at the same discounts they were obliged to sell them for?
No they pay the market rate. But it’s a misconception that the sell off was really so cheap. They were subject to life tenancies and so to anyone other than the tenant had very restricted value. Then as can be plainly seen the same properties on the open market are often valued less than similar homes in predominantly private areas. But this has nothing to do with achieving best value for money when buying homes for council stock.
Why not just fix all the public lifts mentioned above, maybe lift’s are considered low priority as the 2 lifts in the royal harbour multi smelly car park have been boarded up for many months now.
Ok there are stairs but there so yuck !
Atleast there is a tender £32k out for consultancy design services (only) for the car park lifts. Could they be fixed for the summer season? not handy for the the less able and travelodgers.
Given that the repair and upkeep of just 1 lift would cost a sizeable fraction of a million quid, and given the straightned times we’re living in, which council services should be cut in order to get the lifts going again?
Not my problem. The priorities of the physically and/or mentally disabled should always come first.
In an ideal world, with unlimited money and unlimited resources, yes.
But there is very limited money, and the council has to spend that money and use those resources in a way that benefitted most people most of the time. It’s called the “Utilitarian Principle”.
And as to your trite “Not my problem” it most certainly would be your problem if the council diverted money away from (for example) refuse collection to meet the needs of the “disabled”.
It’s not my problem to decide what other services should be given lower priority, as there are people paid to decide that. It IS my problem to hold those people to account if I disagree with their decisions.
What you mean is Phyllis is council money should be spent on any one other than disabled people correct?
money ,money,money all the way with you Phyllis I pay my council tax the same as you why should I be exiled from every day life just because nasty individual are unable to accept others being disabled?
Because there is a finite and limited amount of money a available.
The challenge for the Council is how to use this money.
The Utilitarian Principle says to spend it so that the most people benefit from it.
Perhaps the council should try to find out what percentage of the local population is unable to get to and from Ramsgate and Margate beaches at present.
Should we do the same when deciding if dropped pavements are needed, or pelican crossings for the blind? No, the disabled should be given priority in all cases.
Apart from perhaps requiring toilets a little more often than most, I am very much able bodied, but if/when I’m less mobile then I’d still expect to go to the places I go to now. Wouldn’t you want the same Phyllis/Marva?
I think I’d be realistic about how a local authority spends our money.
Most people (by definition) are “normal”. It makes sense to spend most money on the needs of most people.
“Disabled” people (or “less able”, as I would call it) have a variety of needs, and a variety of conditions. How much public money should be spent on meeting the various needs of a very small section of society?
I absolutely agree that where a bit of thought can resolve issues, provision for less able people should be built in to new developments, and retrofitted where circumstances allow.
But spending vast sums on lifts (where there are altenatives) and cutting back on other core services: no.
Easier to just forget the lifts ever existed , then everyone is in the same boat. They’re a relic of a bygone age, people don’t respect them ( i’ve never understood why there’s seemingly an impossible urge to urinate in them for some people), they get overloaded, people jump up and down in them to get them to cut out. Attendants in each whilst they are open is a considerable expense and will still not guarantee sensible behaviour.
Then you’d need to get the lifts upto an insurable condition in terms of liability insurance. You’d be better off having a contract with a couple of cabs that have wheelchair facilities and paying them to transport people as close to the beach as a vehicle can get.
You could say the same thing about toilets, parks, bus shelters, public gardens and just about everything else open for free to the general public. Should we just get rid of everything to prevent a small minority damaging them?
You’ve seen the state of the things you mention so yes it does pretty much look as though maintaining them to a decent standard is just beyond the finances available in the face of the abuse they receive.
We live in a society where public facilities can be trashed with impunity by the antisocial few , who do so safe in the knowledge that even if they are caught they’ll receive no meaningful sanction, as a result public bodies cannot keep throwing money at things that get trashed everytime they are repaired.
The budgets for toilets, shelters, bus stops etc etc, would in all likelihood be morenthan enough to maintain them in good order if they weren’t abused, but once that sensible budget is gone wha t do you do?
In terms of priorities we are forever increasing the nhs budget as its some sort of sacred cow, but in return the population abuses the service by choosing to get ever fiatter, unfiiter, more drunk/ drugged.
How many billions could be diverted to lifts etc if the health service was not so burdened? Our streets and roads are strewn with rubbish and dog mess , so we pay to clear it up as its seen as a greater priority than lifts, the list is endless.
Society creates its physical world, in the absence of an economy and workforce willing and to create sufficient wealth to put everythingg right , we end up in the mess we’re in.. But people would rather have cheap clothes theey can thrrow away after a couple of uses, a new phone every year, consume huge quantities of inane. Internet content, live on junk food as they have no time to cook prooperly (due to spending too much time glued to screens) we have. Increasinng numbers of children bought up in households where human interaction is minimal and they’re placated with screens, necessitatinng resources to be diverted to deal with the damage caused.
Where do you start?
Dropped kerbs and /or table junctions would probably help a lot more people get around than the lifts would.
Reply to LC- having clean pavements is a greater priority than having a couple of working lifts, as the majority of residents use the pavements, whereas only a minority used the lifts.
People seem to blindly accept that there is “ongoing uncertainty around the future of local government funding”. Why aren’t they challenging that concept more vocally? If the government can find money to go to war then it can find money to subsidise councils.
But it’s not the Tory way.
The lifts, toilets, etc in Thanet have been in disrepair for decades, under Tory and Labour governments, and Tory, Labour and UKIP councils.
Hhow much did Blair sqaunder on his military escapades in his quest to endear himself with the americans?
It’s a societal problem not a political one.
This current tory government has cut funding to local authorities to the tune of 37% since 2010.
The most impacted boroughs are those under Labour control, the least impacted those under Tory control.
I call that political.
My comments are about the huge anounts of waste in the system due to societal attitude.. Was the cash withdrawn from local authorities diverted to the nhs and education system? Currently there is about 140 billion of taxpayer funded debt for student loans of which it’s expected only 25% will be repaid, the pot of cash ( even with money printing ) is limited.
Governments have always found the money to go to war Ian throughout time they just tax the peasants more which is exactly what is happening now with the NI increase.
Seeing as it’s generally the peasants ( your word ) that use the nhs and rely on it to deal with the consequences of their lifechoices , it’s not overly unfair to expect them to pay something towrds it.