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'Evil and stupid' budget slammed by opposition

The budget was slammed as ‘evil and stupid’ by opposition councillors as they tried and failed to prevent it from being approved on Tuesday.

Members of the opposition were outvoted 23-17 at the full council meeting in Maidenhead Town Hall, but many spoke up about their disdain for the proposals, which will come into force on Wednesday, April 1.

Cllr Simon Werner (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green), leader of the Maidenhead Lib Dems, said: “The other day I was talking to two young people. I asked what they thought of the Conservatives – one said they are evil, the other said they were stupid.

“Maybe we should go with them and call this the evil and stupid budget.”

Concerns were raised with multiple aspects of the budget, in particular the scrapping of Advantage Card discounts for parking and the introduction of paid-for residents’ parking permits, particularly in Windsor, where parking charges are higher due to tourist trade.

Cllr Lynne Jones (OWRA, Old Windsor), leader of the local independents, was scathing of the way the council had managed its finances.

She said: “You chose to ignore the signs, you chose to set budgets to win elections without a clear direction of travel.

“If you fail again to deliver savings you will hasten the plunge into negative reserves.”

When the opposition were criticised for not coming up with any alternatives, Cllr Jones stated that the administration had worked on the budget for ‘four months’ but had only given the opposition ‘15 working days’ to come up with their own solution.

Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem, Clewer East) added: “'The Royal Borough is an unsinkable ship’ they cried, they crunched the numbers and said that parking rates would be frozen for residents. How it’s changed in a year.

“Many people, like me, can’t afford electric vehicles to get free parking.

“Residents didn’t cause this financial mess, they don’t deserve this financial mess but they are the ones paying for it.”

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