THE mayor of Newbury has conceded that Newbury residents ‘deserve better’ than having their services cut.
Howard Bairstow, who is also a Tory councillor, used his speech at Monday night’s annual town meeting to criticise the way the town’s residents have been treated.
Mr Bairstow, who sits on Newbury Town Council and West Berkshire Council, said he was ‘sad’ that local councils had been put in the position where they are having to make cuts to public services.
He added: “I was extremely upset and angry we were made to do this. Our people deserve better than that and we will work hard to keep as many services as possible., but we only have so much money – we are in a difficult position.”
West Berkshire Council has been forced to make an unprecedented £17.5m of cuts in the next financial year after having its government grant slashed by 44 per cent.
As a result of this, the district council told the town council it would need to take on the cost of running the public toilets at The Wharf and Pembroke Road.
The town council will also have to pick up the bill for running the town’s CCTV service and Visitor Information Centre.
The town council needs to raise at least an extra £55,000 to keep these services running, so it raised its precept – the amount of money it collects from the town’s taxpayers’ – by 4.6 per cent.
Mr Bairstow continued: “I would be sad to lose any of these services. CCTV is essential for security, toilets are essential for a hygienic town and the information centre is essential for tourism.”