Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown has voiced concerns over budget proposals for Cotswold District Council.

The annual Cotswold District Council budget meeting is set to be held tomorrow (Wednesday, February 26), and the MP says he expects the new Liberal Democrat administration to raise council tax by the 3.88 per cent maximum amount permissible and also increase parking charges across the district.

In addition, the new administration is also expected to seek approval to borrow up to £30 million for social housing projects and a new commercial strategy which includes speculating on land and property and investing in green initiatives like solar farms. At this time, they are not expected to make any changes to green bin licence fees, despite the service being cut from weekly to fortnightly.

Cllr Richard Morgan, leader of the Conservative opposition group on the council, said: “Gloucestershire County Council has a budget of £468 million, this budget is covering major services such as highways, education, social care for adults and children.

"In contrast Cotswold District Council with a net budget of about £12 million is far smaller and it has responsibilities for waste, leisure centres, and Council owned car parks.

“When the Liberal Democrats took control of CDC in May 2019 they inherited cash reserves of £13.2 million, property investments of £7.5 million and financial market investments of £12.5 million. The council was debt free, had the 11th lowest district council tax in the country and was consistently under budget year on year. I think everybody will agree the council currently has strong financial foundations."

Sir Geoffrey said: “I accept there is a local government spending review under way which could reduce the funding for local government in the future, but we don’t know the results of the review and funding could potentially increase, not decrease.

“The Liberal Democrat plans to borrow up to £30 million seems disproportionate considering CDC only has a net budget requirement of around £12.3 million each year. We also need to scrutinise their plans of how they intend to pay this debt back if interest rates go up at any point over the next 20 or 30 years”.