Unfortunately the BugleMobile ran out of fuel on the way to the Town Hall and so we missed the first hour of the meeting. This included the appointment of Mayor designate and the beginning of the budget debate.
Here is the footage of the remainder of the meeting from about 8pm onwards until the end.
Papers can be viewed here
Councillor Coleman left the Council Chamber after the Budget debate not to return. He is consoled and comforted by some of his close friends on the Conservative Group, geting a pat on the back from Cllr Eva Greenspan, who he sat next to for the meeting.
Update 5 March. For those curious as to Cllr Greenspan's fashion choice for last night, Cllr Coleman has helpfully tweeted
From the full Council meeting 4th March. Papers for the meeting are here item 2.5
Budget 2014: Alison Moore under attack for accepting a 1% Council Tax cut she called a cynical election ploy to bribe voters
The Leader of the Labour Group, Alison Moore is under criticism from many in her own group for Labour's 'bonkers' budget amendment and u-turn over Council Tax. Her many critics inside the Labour Group and the wider left wing community in Barnet were have been bolstered by what is being seen as a calamitous strategy for the upcoming local election. They are lost for words at what Labour are planning to put forward to the voters in the election in May.
The Labour Leader had powerfully condemned the proposed Conservative tax cut last September as a cynical election ploy to bribe voters. Everyone, and we do mean everyone as no one we have spoken to had any idea about this, believed that Labour were commited to a freeze but not a cut in Council Tax. However sources tell us that Cllr Moore decided to accept the Council Tax rise at the January Council meeting through a textual amndement to a Conservative motion. Below shows that the amendment would leave the substantive motion to read:
Yet as our footage of the meeting shows neither Cllr Alison Moore nor Cllr Ross Houston (Labour's Finance spokesman) made any reference to the fact they had accepted the cut, indeed Cllr Dan Thomas repeatedly taunted Labour for being against tax cuts. He started his speech
Labour would not even dream of cutting Council Tax
The result of Labour accepting the Conservative's 1% cut in Council Tax is that it has put them in a straitjacket at tonight's budget meeting. Whereas the LibDems have put in an alternative budget that includes spending of an extra £1,400,000 on politically attractive measures, Labour are left to tinker at the edges having taken the self denying ordinance. Conservatives can barely conceal their delight. One said to us,
We just can't believe our luck. Labour have fallen right into the trap we laid for them. We were worried about them coming forward with proposals to spend the tax cut on parking measures or other political attractive options but Alison Moore has taken the bait.
The bafflement from Alison Moore's critics is that Labour have taken this pain with no political gain. As Labour's position supporting a cut has gone unreported anywhere they will get no electoral benefit. Those voters who take an interest will be of the view that Conservatives are the only ones supporting a cut, especially as the only public utterance from Alison Moore was a condemnation of a tax cut last year as a cynical ploy.
At the last Council meeting on 21 January the LibDems set out their clear position of Council Tax.
Cllr Lord Palmer argued the case for their position clearly and succinctly. No one in the Chamber was in any doubt as to where the LibDems stood: against a 1% cut but for a freeze.
At tonight's meeting they have spelled out how they will spend the money that otherwise would have paid for a tax cut here