Budget approved by cabinet members

The Budget for 2013/14 has been agreed by Crawley Borough Council cabinet members, but a final decision as to whether to go ahead with it will be made by the full council on February 27.

At a meeting on Wednesday (February 13) councillors approved plans for a £1m access road to Tilgate Park, solar panels on the town hall which will cost £240,000, and a combined heat and power plant at K2 to produce local energy costing £650,000. The council said more than half of the £14.958m budget this year is made up of a government grant of £8,431,000 which is £827,000 less than the grant awarded for the current financial year. The council has identified £512,000 of savings. Cllr Bob Lanzer, Leader of the council, said: “We’ve made £7.3m of savings and efficiencies in the last five years and the council has continued to invest in the town and encourage investors from both the public and private sectors.”

Crawley Labour Group leader Peter Lamb said: “The only way the council can claim this is a balanced budget is by resorting to accounting tricks. It’s time for the Conservatives to wake up to reality and develop a sustainable strategy which uses reserves built up during the good times to help continue to provide services through the bad times.”