County Council cuts will push some Suffolk residents over the brink

Cuts in services proposed by Suffolk County Council’s Conservative administration, published today, will reduce their ability to prevent some vulnerable residents from slipping into greater need, say Labour Councillors.

Responding to the papers printed for the Cabinet meeting on 28th January, Labour Group Leader Sandy Martin said “Prevention is always better than cure. Whether it is young people at danger of slipping into crime or unemployment, or elderly people at risk in their own homes or unable to leave hospital, many of the Conservative proposals will stop people from overcoming their difficulties, and actually cost the public purse more in the long run.”

Labour Councillors will be proposing to reverse various cuts at the County Budget being put forward on February 13th. On 28th January, Cllr Martin will challenge the Conservatives to provide justification for their proposed cuts to:

  • The School Improvement Programme
  • Training for Social Care Workers
  • The Supporting People Budget, which helps vulnerable people in their homes
  • Lighthouse Women’s Refuges
  • The Libraries’ Book Fund

Labour also believes the County Council should be spending more on:

  • Educational Welfare Officers – to deal with the poor record of school attendance in our County
  • Autism and ADHD provision to help some of our most disadvantaged children

And Labour Councillors will be arguing that the County’s Corporate Regeneration Fund, which brings in more than 4 times as much additional money from outside, should be retained and used to the maximum, not abolished.

The overall reserve for the County Council depends on what is counted, but it will be at least £144 million by 31st March 2014. Of that figure, the Contingency Reserve, which is the money that has no particular expected use over the year, will have gone up from £11.4 million on 31 March 2013, to £17.1 million by 31 March 2014.

“At a time when the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government is slashing funding for councils, it is absurd that Suffolk is still squirrelling money away like this” said Cllr Martin.

NOTES TO EDITORS
Cabinet papers can be found at
http://committeeminutes.suffolkcc.gov.uk/meeting.aspx?d=28/Jan/2014&c=The%20Cabinet

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