An update about the County׳s budget discussions on February 16th, from David Williams, the leader of the Green Group.
The two supposed 'opposition parties' caved in and basically accepted the Tory budget.
They claim that they got £4m out of the Tories to reduce the Children’s Centre closures and ease the Wellbeing Centre reductions, what they did not say is the £4m will be added to the black hole of 'Unspecified Cuts ' already in the budget making it not £11m they will have to cut but £15m. Labour and the Lib Dems fell for the oldest trick in the book; vote through these massive cuts and we will have 'review'. Anybody with any experience of local government knows that if the rug of financing something has been pulled its rather pointless having a review because all they can do is go along with the reduction.
The Lib Dems never even moved a budget and Labour dropped the elements in their budget such as stopping the extra Councillors’ allowances and Cabinet spending that would have saved some money to spend on the most vulnerable.
Their actions were a betrayal of the services. When the Children's Centres close down (you need £7m not £2m to run them) people need to blame Labour; when the bus does not come because it’s been cancelled blame the Lib Dems; when relatives cannot get nursing home care for their sick parents, blame the Tories. Vast cuts especially in Adult Social Care will now go ahead because they were unwilling to try and save the services.
Having shown conclusively that ALL the most controversial cuts could be put back in the budget and it would only costs the average ratepayer an extra 74p per week, the Greens did not vote for the budget because there was a clear and viable alternative. I said that if they campaigned for it the people would vote for a 3% more than the suggested rise and I showed them a tiny tin of beans that was equivalent to the increase.
The budget was a con in terms of restoring any cuts because only a pittance was put back and it came from a fund that in six months will catch up with them and they will have to cut back again. They totally ran away from facing up to the fact that they need to generate more money and played at rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.