Today Gloucestershire County Council’s Conservative bosses announced their spending plans for the coming year.
At a Cabinet meeting held in Shire Hall, it was confirmed that the Council’s budget will be cut by £6m, but that tax will rise by 4%. In response the county’s Liberal Democrats have attacked the budget proposals as being “riddled with harmful cuts”.
Specific cuts include:
Children and Families - minus 13.31%
Communities and Infrastructure (including roads) - minus 1.21%
Public Health - minus 2.47%.
There have also been cuts to cash going to adults and children with learning disabilities, trading standards and road safety initiatives.
This all follows from the Council wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on plans for a bus lane in Cheltenham that nobody wanted, a huge new telephone system for Shire Hall and a trip to China for the Council’s bosses.
They even spent £200K on trying to cover up details of their controversial incinerator project only for a major IT blunder to reveal otherwise hidden information.
The Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Finance and Change, Cllr. Klara Sudbury (Charlton Park & College) said:
“What we are seeing in this year’s budget is cuts, cuts and more cuts. This situation has not been arrived at overnight.
“The Conservatives have had 12 years to set budgets wisely, protecting the valuable services that local people rely on. With more sensible and realistic long-term budget planning, the county council’s administration could have spared some of this pain.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton and Northleach) also said:
“Today, I have heard the Leader of this Council say that ‘budgets are about making choices.’
“I strongly believe that the choices made by Conservative chiefs today will have a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable people.
“The Tories claim to be prudent but the truth is they can’t be trusted with tax-payers money. This budget is riddled with harmful cuts.
“One look at the shocking state of our roads tells us all that this Council has failed to get it right. It’s time for a change.”