Sunday, 10 November 2013

Reactions to Proposed Budget Cuts

On November 5th West Berkshire Conservatives announced their proposals to cut more than £5m per year from its £120m annual budget.

Watch WBC Leader, Cllr Gordon Lundie (Lambourn), explain his reasoning here.

He stated that he would be seeking ways to save the services that people 'value most' by passing on the cost to local town and parish councils.

Speaking to Newbury Weekly News, Cllr Lundie said "there will inevitably be some redundancies" - but Liberal Democrats in West Berkshire think any blow could be softened.

LibDem Opposition leader, Cllr Jeff Brooks (Thatcham West), commented that "the council has withdrawn funding from the old and the young and will still have millions in the bank," - under the tories it's always the vulnerable who suffer most!

Cllr Brooks described the proposals as "very, very swingeing cuts," and added that Mr Lundie would be known as "the man who stole all the lollipop ladies... he will scare people".

The news has been met with dismay and shock, as recent grant funding reductions of £3m/year were managed by removing some discretionary services, including cutting transport budgets and youth services in 2010, closure of 5 youth centres in 2011, followed in 2012 by cuts to services for the elderly and disabled, victims of domestic abuse and the homeless.

However, just as the economy bounces back from the credit crunch, tories have decided that now is the time to take even more drastic action affecting the worst off in society!

This time cuts will concentrate on vulnerable adults and parenting support, health and social care services, transport and cultural services. Reading Post goes into more detail here.

But the greatest political controversy was reserved for the 50% reduction in subsidy to local theatres.

Remembering its past closure and reopening, and outreach work undertaken with schools and young people to engage and inspire their interests, director of Newbury Corn Exchange Katy Griffiths spoke out against the tory proposals, saying:
"we will be making sure that decision makers at the Council understand the far-reaching and unintended consequences that a cut this substantial would have for the local community."
Make sure you do too!

For a full list of proposed cuts and how to respond to the consultation click the links below:

Public transportLibrariesChildren's centres
Roads and verge maintenanceSchool crossing patrolsHealth related services
Car parkingTourismSupport for disabled children
Public conveniencesDuke of Edinburgh's Award ProgrammeParenting support
TheatresSupporting people in need of carePre-school Teacher Counselling
Services to vulnerable young peoplePlanning enforcementRoad safety


Sign and share West Berkshire Liberal Democrats' online petition against these unnecessary and unfair cuts!

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, call upon West Berkshire Council to use all available resources to avoid the very severe cuts proposed by the Council on 5th November 2013 as these would disproportionally affect the disabled, vulnerable old and young people, those who live in rural areas, the safety of schoolchildren and other road users, and the already poor condition of our roads.

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