South Gloucestershire Lib Dems have hit out at the budget passed by Council’s ruling Conservative group last night. The budget indicates that there will be over £36 million in cuts to the Council’s budget between 2019 and 2022 – but the nature of these cuts are still unspecified and the Conservatives admit they still don’t know how these cuts will be implemented.
Speaking during the debate, Lib Dem group Deputy Leader, Cllr Clare Young, said:
“Last week I chaired a detailed scrutiny of the budget. The most alarming feature was the number of times the answer to how savings was going to be made was ‘we don’t know yet’ or ‘we still need to do the work on that.’ We know the Conservatives plan to cut £36m from the Council’s budget between 2019 and 2022, including over £16 million from adult and children’s social services. It seems extraordinary that councillors would commit to such massive cuts without knowing how services will be affected.
“Councillor Riddle says that belts have to be tightened in these times of austerity, and we accept that, but South Gloucestershire has already tightened its belt pretty damn hard in recent years. There will come a point, not very long from now I fear, when there will be simply nothing left to cut. I didn’t come into local government to see it stripped to the bone and unable to help people we were elected to serve. I’m sure he didn’t either.
“It’s time that, instead of simply defending the cuts being handed down from their party in Westminster, this Council’s Conservative administration, and South Gloucestershire’s Conservative MPs…use their influence to push back against the cuts from central government…. If it turns out that they have no such influence within their own party then local residents might reasonably begin to ask ‘what is the point in having a Conservative-run Council at all?’”