County Council Budget Unimaginative
Norfolk Liberal Democrats have summarised the proposals in Norfolk County Council's budget as "unimaginative".
Steff Aquarone, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, said "Norfolk's recovery from the pandemic cannot be business as usual with the same tired out old ideas. We need a bold, new vision for Norfolk. The Conservatives have simply relied on government handouts whilst continually asking people to pay more for less.
They have increased council tax by 18% over the last 4 years and cut Council services by a massive £180m since 2017/18. The majority of those cuts are on services for people who need them. This year it will be 43% just in social care. This destroys lives and doesn't help Norfolk's economy as this money would have been spent on services largely provided by Norfolk firms.
They are even cutting services where the government has given them the money to provide a service such as the Social Prescribing Service which will see staff lose their jobs."
Instead, the Liberal Democrats want to see -
- An additional £1m spent solely on economic development;
- Protection of rural transport services;
- A one year trial of a free Household DIY Waste Disposal day, and
- City Trees installed to reduce air pollution in Castle Meadow, Norwich.
The Liberal Democrat proposals will be considered at the Full Council meeting on Monday 22 February where the County Council's budget for next year will be debated.
Steff added "We cannot continue to get left behind as Norfolk has been for the last four years - lagging behind in the creation of new jobs and wage levels. Such limited aspiration and attention to economic growth from County Hall has to change. Norfolk Conservatives have shown over the last 4 years that they cannot deliver the post-pandemic recovery that is needed.
Our proposals, which we are told the County Council has the money to fund, will help to kickstart Norfolk's recovery. With it comes a commitment to a bold economic strategy drawn up with Norfolk businesses to attract new investment and grow Norfolk's economy."
The County Council is currently controlled by the Conservatives. Local elections in May will determine who is in charge of the Council the next four crucial years.