Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Tories Heed Lib Dem Advice On Buses, Libraries And Roads And Back MP's Station Plan

Cllr Kilian Bourke (LD, Romsey)

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the fact that county Tories have listened to their advice and scaled back cuts to buses and libraries and invested more in care for older people in their budget.

The Tories have also taken their lead from the Lib Dem Highways Review in proposing a massive up-front investment in roads, pavements and cycleways to halt the ongoing decline.

And they have supported a Lib Dem plan for a new railway station in Chesterton which is a personal triumph for Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert.

But the Lib Dems have expressed fears as to whether the Conservatives, who have a poor record at managing big projects, will be able make a success of this budget with its extra capital spending.

“This budget is half good and half bad. It shows the influence of an effective opposition as many ideas previously promoted by the Liberal Democrats have now been accepted by the Conservatives.

“The Conservatives have accepted that their cuts to many core services went way beyond what was necessary and scaled-back some of the worst. As a result the huge cuts to rural buses and plans to close libraries have been reduced; but substantial cuts will still go ahead and people who use these services will be far from reassured.

“The extra investment in Adult Care is a long overdue recognition from the Tories that this service has been chronically underfunded and mismanaged.

"The County Council's support for a new railway station in Chesterton is a great personal triumph for Cambridge’s MP, and the massive overhaul of our roads comes straight out of a Lib Dem Highways Review, and should stop the steady decline in their condition that the Tories have allowed."

“In terms of the overall financial picture we are deeply sceptical about the ability of the Conservatives to manage projects on this scale,” said Lib Dem Leader, Kilian Bourke. “With £90 million at stake in the Guided Bus court case, their track record on contract management is not reassuring.

But they added that their alternative budget will expose Tory inefficiency and waste, safeguard vital services and better provide for the long-term future of the people across the whole county.