Saturday, 24 October 2015

Lib Dems call for five per cent Council Tax rise to save county services

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats claim a five per cent increase in Council Tax is the only way to protect services across the county as it faces a brutal cut in funding from the Tory government.

They have warned that without the increase in council tax, the county is facing a level of cuts which will be extremely difficult to achieve without having an appalling effect on services for residents.

The cut in government grant comes on top of many years of spending cuts in the county coupled with the pressures of an ageing and increasing population.

Cambridgeshire Lib Dem Leader, Lucy Nethsingha warned: “If we don’t take control of our own budget and put up council tax more than that rate of inflation the savings we will have to make will have a noticeable impact on the daily lives of our residents.

“We are already seeing that impact with the plans to turn off street lights and cuts in the budget for road maintenance, which will mean even more potholes. Reductions in school transport will mean some 17- year-olds will face massive problems in accessing post-16 education.  

“The Conservatives in central government should not be cutting the council's grant at this rate.  They are choosing to focus on deficit reduction at an extreme cost to our public services.

“George Osbourne is talking big about his desire for devolution.  We will see whether his words have any meaning when we see whether he will allow local decision making on Council Tax rates. Increasing the council tax by five per cent rather than two per cent would mean we could keep the street lights on and continue to ensure our young people can access the education they need.”