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Warwickshire Lib Dems challenge Conservative plans ahead of 2019/20 Budget

January 11, 2019 2:18 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

A better wayWarwickshire Liberal Democrats challenge Conservative plans ahead of 2019/20 Budget: Opposing plans to reduce the number of fire engines & calling for a Cross Party Commission on Children's Services.

With the forthcoming Council Tax and budget setting Liberal Democrats are calling on the Conservative administration of the County Council to:

  1. Establish a high-level Commission to look into the increasing pressures on Children & Families in Warwickshire especially Vulnerable Learners such as Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) and RISE (Children & adolescent mental health service)
  2. Reverse proposed cut backs to fire engines and crews based in Stratford and Coleshill.

The Liberal Democrats have published a clear list of priorities for the 2019/20 budget and will test these against the Conservative budget. This approach marks a change from the conventional approach of producing an alternative budget.

Austerity has seen Warwickshire County Council cutting back on services and driving greater efficiencies, over the last 5 years WCC have taken £88.4 million out of its budget. Continuing austerity in local government combined with the continued uncertainty of Brexit means that there is a need for new type of politics and open dialogue to manage the risks and deliver the best for the people of Warwickshire.

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, stated:

"This year we are breaking with tradition for a number of reasons. Firstly, Warwickshire is run and controlled by a majority Conservative administration. Secondly, the Council is in turmoil at this point in time over its reorganisation that is taking place and the time cannot be right to take up valuable officer time and resources when they should be 100% focused on providing local services for residents. Thirdly we wish to be constructive in our opposition by producing a clear set of priorities.

The pressure on services continues, over the last 5 years WCC have taken £88.4 million out of its budget and future savings running into millions will be needed. The pressure on Children and families is increasing everything from self harm, mental health and SEND services and we believe that a cross party commission approach is now needed. Also the Fire service is running right on the edge and proposed reductions at Stratford and Coleshill would put the County in a very risky position at a time when the number of residents within Warwickshire are increasing.

We urge the Conservative administration to apply our test to the Budget and demonstrate that their Budget will protect the people of Warwickshire."

Liberal Democrat Tests for the Conservative Administration

Test 1- Early Intervention and youth work.

Test 2 - Healthy & Independent Communities

Test 3 - Planning for the future, environment

Test 4 - Safer Communities our Fire & Rescue

Full Liberal Democrat budget statement