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The majority of Middlesbrough councillors have agreed to accept Budget proposals aimed at saving the local authority from effective bankruptcy.

The Full Council met at the town hall on Friday to cast their vote on the plans which include the maximum council tax rise, along with a charge for green waste collection. They also agreed to accept exceptional financial support from the Government allowing the council to borrow £13.4m.

The vote saw 25 councillors vote for the Budget plans and 16 against while five abstained. Earlier in the meeting, the town’s Mayor Chris Cooke told the meeting if they did not accept the Budget proposals, the only option left would be the issuing of a so-called section 114 notice – when a council declares it can no longer meet its financial obligations.

This would take away control from the local people “at significant cost”, said Mr Cooke. Labour councillor Matt Storey said it was one of the most important Budgets ever been considered by the council and refusing it would result in the “decimation of every service in the town”. He added: “This is not the night to play politics with the budget.”

The council recently previously rowed back on two elements of its budget proposals after public opposition, deferring plans to close the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, in Stewart Park. It also scrapped the plans for new parking charges at the Marton park.

Labour councillor David Branson said, compared to other local authorities, the budget plans did not impose “a huge cost” on the people of Middlesbrough. He said many other local authorities had had to make “much more severe” cuts.

Conservative councillor Luke Mason, who was among the 16 voting against the plans, said he would not let some of the Executive members “run a bath” and said the Mayor had backtracked on a “promise” to remove the Linthorpe Road cycle lane. He also noted an audit which found the cash-strapped council racked up a bill of almost £8m on its corporate purchase cards in 2022/23 which he said had “grossly undermined” his confidence.

Also voting against the Budget proposals was Conservative Cllr Mieka Smiles who said the council tax increases on many people in her ward of Nunthorpe would be “totally intolerable” while seeing “a greatly-reduced level of services”.

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