The Conservative-led council will tonight put forward a budget exposing a £3.155m deficit in council finances, placing the cost of the financial mishandling of the pandemic firmly in the purses of Medway’s families.

The Budget, including 20% increases to 1-hour car parking fees and a steep 40% increase to 30-minute stays, will be voted on at tonight’s Full Council meeting.

As a result of the Conservative Group’s budget, Medway residents will also see a mammoth 4.99% council tax increase resulting in an £87 a year increase for households in the ‘band D’ category.

The Budget marks the latest example of the Conservative Council placing the bill of the pandemic firmly with the hard-working residents of Medway. Earlier this year, the Council were accused of profiting from the pandemic as plans of a 48% hike to crematorium service prices were revealed.

After pressure from the Labour and Co-operative group, alongside the support of 20,000 individuals who signed a petition calling for immediate reconsideration, the Council U-turned on these plans. The Labour and Co-operative Group continue to call for an apology from the Council Leader on this matter.

Leader of the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group, Cllr Vince Maple, said that ‘The Conservative Council, alongside the Government, have very clearly shown where their priorities lie – and it is not with the people of Medway.

‘The pandemic has understandably caused financial pressures on our services – however this budget reflects that local people will be bearing the brunt of this, as opposed to the Conservative Government or Council, and our community deserves better.

‘Time and time again we’ve seen the Conservatives take advantage of the pandemic – whether that be locally through proposed 48% increases to crematorium service charges, or nationally with clear cronyism as 7 out of 10 contracts signed by Test and Trace were to companies like Serco without competition, independently verified to have had conflicts of interests.

‘Medway Labour and Co-operative group will be firmly opposing the Budget, and the burden it shifts on to the working people in our community.’

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