Conservative Group members on the Isle of Wight Council meet this weekend to finalise their budget proposals which they will then invite full council to consider at the budget meeting in February.
These proposals are currently being examined by officers to confirm they are financially viable, what their financial implications would be for the wider budget and how they could provide some alternatives to the list of savings currently being proposed by the Independent Administration.
Conservative Group Leader Cllr Dave Stewart says: “We recognise that the level of flexibility in the current financial climate is limited and that a number of the current proposals being suggested by the Independents actually build on previous Conservative administration policies. For that reason we accept many of the inevitable savings that have to be made – however we do believe there are alternative choices.
“No one likes to make cuts in service, but every aspect of Government spending, including Council Tax support, has to be reviewed and reductions made if we are to clear the huge debts inherited from the last Labour administration.
“So we have approached the budget process by considering what is important in terms of keeping Islanders healthy and safe and exploring how we can help to promote growth in our economy and thereby help to create more jobs for Islanders.
“The public will already be aware of some of our initiatives in relation to enabling the creation of an Island Business Forum, addressing Island Ferry issues and supporting ‘Visit Isle of Wight’ who we believe are doing a good job for our tourist industry.
“But there is more that can be done and our proposals will reflect some of these ideas.
“We shall be meeting this weekend to discuss and agree our options and hope they will help to provide the full council with choices to debate and discuss in February. Delivering services in a different way may mean we can maintain or improve them at a lower cost and we should be looking to do so.”