Merton Council’s controversial budget may be facing defeat, as all three opposition parties prepare to submit amendments over the £5 million cuts to adult social care.

Merton has been at loggerheads ever since the November Spending Review gave local councils the power to raise council tax by two per cent in order to fund adult social care.

And although the Labour group formally rejected this, standing by council leader Stephen Alambritis’ election pledge to keep council tax frozen, they have faced widespread opposition for refusing to raise a 1.7 per cent precept without an increase in council tax.

February 16: 'Freezing council tax and cutting adult social care is a betrayal of Labour values' - party split as Merton Council cuts are approved

This could be done by using the money no longer collected by the Greater London Authority for the Olympic precept, and could raise over £1.3 million for adult social care according to Councillor Peter Southgate.

The Merton Conservatives have now formally announced that it will be submitting an amendment at the budget meeting on Wednesday, March 2, calling on the 1.7 per cent precept to be raised.

February 22: Merton Labour accused of intentionally silencing and misinforming councillors in leaked email dispute over adult social care cuts

A separate amendment is due to be submitted by the Merton Park Independents, supported by Liberal Democrat Councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes, also calling for the increase.

And, with Labour holding a majority in council of just 12 seats, it would take only six Labour councillors to back the amendments for the budget to be defeated.

Wimbledon Times:

The proposed cuts have been met opposition from carers and councillors alike

Cllr Alambritis has argued that the council’s new £1.3 million Mitigation Fund will be used to help vulnerable people affected by the cuts.

February 3: Merton council leader Stephen Alambritis refuses to bend as rebel Labour party urges him to raise tax and 'save adult social care'

He said: “We have found our own money because we are a good council, and we have allocated that money to vulnerable people so we can do both and still protect those who could not afford a council tax increase.”

However, in a letter to the Wimbledon Guardian, Merton Park Independent Cllr Southgate said: “No allowance has been made for this in the budget. The money will in effect come out of reserves, which are already low.

“And because this is a one-off injection, officers will be tasked with finding another source of funds next year.

“This is no way to maintain essential services for the elderly, finances must be put on a sustainable footing. That means bringing in additional revenue – there is no alternative.”

January 27: "The majority of the Labour group are with me" insists Merton council leader as divisions over cuts increase

Leader of Merton Conservatives, Councillor Oonagh Moulton, has set up a petition in support of the proposed amendment.

In a statement, she said: “We are tabling this amendment because it is the right thing to do for the people of Merton.

“The most vulnerable in our community shouldn’t have to suffer as a result of Labour’s financial mismanagement.

“They are choosing to cut frontline services for older and disabled residents rather than using the power given to them by Government to clean up their mess.”

To view the Conservative party petition, visit