B&NES Council met tonight to discuss the budget for 2010/11. Liberal Democrat Councillors did not support the Council budget proposed by B&NES’ Conservative Cabinet. Leader of the Lib Dems Councillor Paul Crossley (Southdown) said:
The Liberal Democrats will not be supporting this budget. The budget process put in place by the Cabinet keeps Councillors out of the loop, ignores input from O&S and permits Cabinet members to drip feed information rather than being transparent and democratic. We are deeply concerned about the bottom-up approach to job cuts that the administration is taking and about the ‘extra’ funding announcements, which are merely surface dressing to distract from cuts.
Councillor David Dixon (Walcot) led for the Lib Dems on the budget paper, saying:
The Liberal Democrats see this as a budget which has asked services to make considerable cuts, cuts to frontline services while protecting our senior officers. It is a budget that offers very little new money for services, but only serves to move money about.
Councillor Nathan Hartley (Peasedown, Lib Dem) criticised the administration for moving from a ‘universal’ to a ‘targeted’ youth service provision:
I’ve always argued that the youth service should be protected and it’s simply unfair that whenever this Council has to make cuts it’s the young people of B&NES that lose out. Any investment in the youth service should be going into strengthening the ‘universal service’ we already have by providing more activities for ALL young people – not just those that the Council considers need to be ‘targeted’.
Councillor Cherry Beath (Combe Down, Lib Dem) called for a “targeted approach to speed reduction” in B&NES:
I was disappointed not to see in this Budget a more targeted approach to speed reduction measures in our Communities, specifically the rolling out of more 20mph zones in residential areas and funding to support this. This policy has the support of residents and is proven to save lives.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist (Widcombe, Lib Dem) called for ‘serious money’ to be spent on alleviating the area’s traffic speed problems:
If the Council wants to make a serious impression on speeding traffic it needs to spend serious money. The request I am making for £250K will but about 80 flashing speed signs, which could be put up anywhere within the B&NES area. I have spoken to the Police, and they are supportive of this idea, but it does now need political will-power to bring it about.