Friday, 6 December 2013

Lib Dems' Budget Protects Vulnerable From Brutal Tory cuts

Cllr Maurice Leeke
Most of the brutal planned Tory cuts to the county’s children’s centres and work with troubled young people would be reversed by the Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats in their budget.

They have announced they would reverse the Tories’ planned cut in funding to Early Help, which supports families with young people with problems, and halve the cut in funding to children’s centres to focus on saving front-line services.

Maurice Leeke, Leader of Cambridgeshire Lib Dems said: “These planned cuts would affect some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. The Tories are trying to save money in areas where it is needed most.

“We cannot sit back and let this happen. Many of the families who seek help through the Early Help project are coping with young people who have problems that could damage their whole futures. We cannot turn our backs on them.”

The Lib Dems would also reverse the Tory plan which would mean the elderly and disabled would not be able to use their bus passes on the Cambridge’s Park and Ride services. And they would invest £280,000 over the next two years in rural bus services.

Repairing the county’s crumbling roads is another priority for the Lib Dems in a bid to make headway on tackling the £300 million backlog of repairs. They would invest £196,000 into road maintenance next year.

They would also reverse the Tory proposal to cut the number of roads gritted in the winter by 35 per cent by investing £50,000 next year and £700,000 in the following year.

The Lib Dems say long term savings could be made by selling Shire Hall, cutting down the number of county and district councils by replacing them with fewer councils and floating the County Farms Estate. The farmers' businesses and tenancies would be protected but the council would be able to re-invest the value of the estate in new schools and road improvements.

“We want to look beyond the quick fixes to where we can make real long-term savings,” said Cllr Leeke. “It is only by putting the council’s finances on a firm footing for the future that we can safeguard front-line services and give residents the quality of service they expect and deserve.”