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Liberal Democrats call for new approach on County Council finances

February 12, 2019 2:58 PM
Originally published by Liberal Democrat Group on Norfolk County Council

Norfolk Liberal Democrats demand better as Tory government attacks on local government and local Conservative mismanagement of the County Council's finances inflicts more pain and distress.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Dan Roper says "Austerity is now a Conservative political project both locally and nationally. It is designed to reduce the level of local services to a legal minimum and allow the private sector to step in. Aside from austerity the Conservatives have no sustainable plan for Norfolk and it is clear that the financial position of the County Council is now dire."

The Council have this year had £14.500m of unexpected extra expenditure that they should have predicted and despite a 14% increase in Council Tax since the Tories came to power in 2016 they still have a £70 million funding gap to fill.

Yet the Tories can give themselves increases in their own pay whilst happily cutting services for those who are most in need and are unable to cope with such huge cuts. It is shameful that in a year when Councillors voted to increase their own allowances they have opted to cut the incomes of vulnerable disabled people.

The Liberal Democrats offered a clear and costed solution to avoiding cuts to the Minimum Income Guarantee at the budget Council. This was rejected by the Tories for purely political reasons. The Conservatives are shutting their eyes and closing their ears to the impact of their policies. It was telling that many of the parents of disabled people who attended the meeting yesterday stated that despite writing to Councillors they hadn't had a single response from a Conservative.

The Liberal Democrat solution would be for a County Council that listened to its communities and had a clear, radical and exciting long-term economic vision. We assess our policies on how they empower the most vulnerable members of our society. We have a clear commitment to economic growth to increase Council revenue alongside demanding a fair funding deal for local government.

Dan Roper