by simongalton on 12 January, 2010
Liberal Democrats have responded to the County Council’s publication of its draft Budget.
Simon Galton, Group Leader said: “this report is something that we have feared for some time. The Tories are attacking key services that vulnerable and elderly people rely upon in order to fulfil a promise on Council Tax that is entirely dependent on a Conservative Government being elected and being able to afford to increase grants to councils.
I am sure many people are concerned about prices and costs, but the 0% promise is very unlikely to be fulfilled – the state of public finances means it would be very hard to meet. The Tories nationally have already admitted the need for higher Taxes and maybe even an increase in VAT. So as we have warned previously, even if it could – there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Our other big concern is that the full effects of the budget won’t be realised until 2011 and beyond, which of course is after the General Election. These include plans to remove all contracted evening and Sunday bus services, cutting support to the Voluntary Sector and non emergency repairs to roads and removing grants to Scout and Guide groups who use Council buildings. We feel this budget is like a ticking time bomb which may not go off for some time but when it does, the full effects will be felt far and wide.
The Liberal Democrats appreciate that times are hard, and we agree council taxes should be kept as low as possible but as a responsible opposition, will strongly oppose cuts that will hurt the very people the Council should be protecting. In due course, we intend to present some alternative proposals to mitigate the worst effects of the Tories budget plans. ”Leave a comment