The Conservative Group of Eastbourne borough councillors attacked the Liberal Democrat’s budget at last night’s (Wednesday, February 22) full council meeting – but did not propose an alternative.
Councillor Penny di Cara, Shadow Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Financial Services, criticised the council for its levels of borrowing.
She said, “Net borrowing in 2015/16 was £53.1m but in 2019/20 it is estimated that it will almost triple to £144.5m.
“I’m sure our residents would consider this to be a staggering amount of borrowing.
“We agree that the council should have capital projects but can this administration be trusted to deliver them effectively?
“We still have no Wish Tower restaurant and no sign of one in the near future.
“Rick Stein pulled out of the deal citing Brexit but then went on to announce a new venture in London so was this the real reason?
“In addition the Princes Park cafe has ground to a halt.
“One would think the Liberal Democrat administration would have sleepless nights over the debt.
“Is it that they are not concerned as it will be our children and grandchildren who will be repaying it.
“Or are they expecting to hand it to their successors like a ticking time bomb?”
Responding, Councillor Gill Mattock, deputy leader of the council, said, “Our debt is 12.5 per cent of the total budget, much less than the average mortgage.
“I don’t have sleepless nights, our borrowing is fully funded. I’m not hearing any alternative plans from the Conservatives.
“We have a good record of balancing budgets. I’m very happy with the budget, external auditors trust us and said we are good value for money.
“And, presumably, the voters trust us.”