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Liberal Democrats respond to approved Budget

February 25, 2010 1:48 PM

Following the Council meeting on Wednesday, the Liberal Democrats are "disappointed but not surprised" by the attitude and stance taken by the Conservative Administration.

Keith Lynch, Lib Dem finance spokesman said: "Since people learnt about the proposed cuts, we have received a large number of letters and emails expressing serious and valid concerns. We tabled a series of costed proposals to curb the worst affects of the Tories budget - namely the closing of community centres, the loss of support for voluntary organisations and the axing of school bus routes. Sadly, it became clear that the Tories had already made their minds up to vote against our amendments.

We suggested that we could make cuts to the £2.1million the Council spends on 'Communications', including reducing the number of editions of the Council's magazine, Leicestershire Matters. We also wanted to cease contributions to Leicestershire Promotions, an organisation which Mr Parsons himself has raised concerns about its effectiveness as well as taking 5p of the Council's mileage rate paid to staff and councillors.

Simon Galton, Lib Dem Leader on Leicestershire County Council said: "Throughout the budget process the Conservative backbench councillors have stuck their heads in the sand and refused to engage. Very few have either defended the cuts or expressed any concerns about the impact on their local communities

In contrast, the Liberal Democrat Group raised concerns, challenged the cuts and put forward alternatives to protect local services. However, the budget meeting is not the end of the matter. Many voluntary organisations and other groups affected have Service Level Agreements with the Council and formal consultation on specific cuts such as the Community Centres still have to take place. The strength of feeling about these Tory budget plans is not going to go away and we urge people to keep challenging the cuts. We will do our best to support them over the coming months".