The Liberal Democrats welcomed acceptance of their plans to tackle climate change and the cost-of-living crisis at Wednesday’s South Gloucestershire Council budget meeting. However they raised concerns about hidden cuts and last minute investment decisions and criticised the Conservative Administration for refusing to lobby the Government directly about fair funding.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Claire Young said:
“A Liberal Democrat-run South Glos would tackle the twin challenges of the cost-of-living crisis and the climate emergency – and work with local people to do it. We welcome agreement of our plans to help local people to cut their energy bills, businesses to reduce their emissions and get an edge in the market, and speed up radical new approaches to cutting carbon emissions like extracting heat from old mine workings.
“Everywhere is suffering the impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine and the aftermath of the pandemic – only the UK is suffering the impact of the Conservatives. Council budgets are under huge pressure and we need a fairer funding system. It’s disappointing that the local Conservatives aren’t prepared to stand up to their colleagues in Westminster on behalf of local people.”
Deputy Leader of the Group Cllr Maggie Tyrrell said:
“I have grave concerns about the last minute announcement that over £300,000 will be spent writing off loans to the Bristol Aerospace Collection Trust. While it is an important local visitor attraction, what other options have been explored to keep it afloat? Could this money have been used to save bus services or support our residents during the cost of living crisis?”
The Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Corporate Resources, Cllr Jon Lean said:
“While we support investments such as those in mending roads and the Frampton End Farm nature reserve, there were too many cuts in the budget hidden behind ‘reviews’ where we just didn't have the information of the potential impact to be able to support them.
“I have particular concerns that a number of the cuts in this budget affect vulnerable people the most. In a time of rising prices for all and even the increasing use of food banks, this budget removes support for some of the people most in need in our area. Cuts to the preparing for adulthood service; cuts to the opening hours of One Stop Shops; cuts to wellbeing services that promote healthy lifestyles. All these cuts will affect vulnerable people the most and, far from ‘levelling up’, will increase inequality across our region. Coupled with the increase in council tax residents will simply be paying more for less.”
Image credit & licence: IG (Flickr)