OPPOSITION councillors have failed to persuade the Tory majority at Dorset Council to budge from their budget and give more to youth services and climate change.

The Lib Dems, Greens and Independents tried a series of amendments to the budget – but each was shot down by the ruling party’s majority at Tuesday’s full council meeting on Dorchester.

Cabinet finance spokesman Cllr Tony Ferrari said the party would not be side-tracked away from its ‘competent and balanced’ budget although he agreed many would like to find more money for both youth services and climate change.

At one point the opposition groups were accused of ‘party politics’ and grandstanding.

Weymouth councillor Louie O’Leary said they should have made their arguments earlier rather than ‘showcase’ their concerns at the last minute.

“We did try – but we were ignored,” said Lib Dem leader Cllr Nick Ireland, in response to the criticism.

Cllr O’Leary also claimed that many youth clubs, including his own at Littlemoor, did not need the extra money because they were managing well on their own, supported by the community, and that council involvement was not necessarily a better way to achieve good services.

The opposition groups tried a series of tactics to get an extra £600,000 or £260,000 into the youth services budget but both amendments were roundly out-voted.

A Green move for an extra £5million into the council’s transformation fund specifically for climate change measures went the same way.

In the end the council agreed the budget strategy which will add almost 4 per cent to the authority’s share of the council tax from April.

The council’s only Labour member, Portland’s Paul Kimber, paid tribute to former council staff who had lost their jobs to achieve a £7million cut to the wages bill by reducing posts throughout the council.

He used the debate to also press for the return of council housing which he said was rapidly reaching crisis point for both young and old in many parts of the Dorset Council area.

Cllr Ferrari said the council understood the burden an increase in tax would impose on people – but said the authority needed to put an extra £22million in the coming year for social services.

“The administration is always concerned when we are forced to increase council tax. We understand only too clearly the burden that places on our residents. We will only do it when the need to provide essential services, and particularly the needs of our most vulnerable, compel it,” he said.