The Mayor bids farewell at the end of the Council Budget Setting Meeting
Last night's Full Council that set next year's budget and council tax proceeded along familiar lines and of course the Labour Group budget and the rise in Council Tax were approved and opposition amendments to the budget defeated.
So many councillors wanted to make their well-rehearsed speeches that the session had to be extended and other items, including the rise in Councillor Allowances and the Borough Plan, were disposed of without debate.
Some Labour members managed to simultaneously argue that the Council's financial base had been devastated by cuts in funding but that the budget was the best thing since sliced bread and would be welcomed by flag waving Brent citizens. Many seemed to have missed the memo from the Budget Scrutiny Group that when the Council had to make service cuts that these should be acknowledged as such.
Others did not seem able to differentiate between budget amendments, that left most of the proposed Labour budget intact, and a comprehensive alternative budget. The latter was not proposed in the Liberal Democrat amendment but somehow the Lib Dem involvement in the 2010 Coalition meant that their proposals (supported by Budget Scrutiny) on street and road repairs could be dismissed without serious consideration.
The opposition were blamed for not not making their proposals early in the budget making process although one of the main issues, the £2m allocated for the Civic Centre update, was only announced recently.
Speeches were peppered with tributes to outgoing Brent CEO Carolyn Downs who as usual performed her role of whispering guidance to the Mayor over proceedings with quiet skill.