New Homes Bonus not mentioned in consultation

Central Bedfordshire Councillor, John Baker (Ind, Aspley and Woburn) has demanded more openness from the Council (CBC) during this year’s budget consultation.

During the consultation residents can have their say on council budget plans for the next financial year. This includes proposals for spending, efficiencies and council tax.

The annual budget consultation was mentioned by ruling Conservative councillors when Independent councillors asked how the New Homes Bonus was allocated. Cllr John Baker said:

“In autumn 2019, Central Bedfordshire Council Independent Councillors discovered that £45m of taxpayers’ money destined for infrastructure through the delivery of new homes, had not been spent in communities where it was raised.

“Millions more will be received by CBC during 2020/21, and £12m is still sitting in a secret reserve. CBC is now consulting residents on how their Council Tax should be spent, but making no attempt to ask the residents of Cranfield and Marston Moretaine how their New Homes Bonus should be spent.

“I think it’s outrageous that, despite the public outrage over Cranfield raising so much New Homes Bonus and receiving so little in return, Conservative Councillors still refuse to openly discuss the matter with their residents.

“Councillors should not toe party lines, but do what’s right for their community. As an Independent, I want to see greater transparency at CBC, and the residents of Cranfield and Marston Moretaine get the new doctors surgeries and other facilities they so richly deserve.”

A council spokesperson said:

“We are encouraging everyone to respond to the budget consultation, whilst the key elements of the budget are about how we intend to spend money, become more efficient and council tax people can comment on any aspect of the budget plans.”

To have your say on the council’s spending plans, visit Budget 2020, or pick up a paper copy of the consultation summary and questionnaire at council offices in Dunstable and Chicksands or at a CBC library.

The closing date is 5pm, 30 January 2020.

Councillors will then consider all responses before the final budget is approved by Council at a meeting on 20 February 2020.