Labour councillors on Suffolk County Council today submitted an amendment to the 2014 budget challenging the Conservative administration to think again over its damaging cuts proposals.
The amendment, proposed by Labour Group Leader Cllr Sandy Martin, identifies seven of the most punitive cuts and seeks to reverse them.
These include cuts to the Supporting People programme, training and development of adult social care staff as well as the proposed cuts to the Learning and Improvement Service for schools.
Cllr Martin said “We are fundamentally against cutting services that protect older people and the education service. We cannot afford to cut services to these people at this time. In a time of austerity we need to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected”.
The changes to the budget will be paid for by putting less money into the contingency reserve. The Contingency Reserve is a sum of money that is not allocated for a specific purpose and under the current budget proposals from the Conservative administration is set to increase by £5m to £17.1m.
Cllr Martin continued “It is a scandal that, whilst this Conservative administration is cutting services, they are proposing to squirrel another £5.7m away. Our proposals mean that a smaller amount goes into the reserves, but we refuse to gamble with people’s lives. The most expensive place for people to stay is in hospital or in prison and this Conservative budget means more people will end up in either”.
The Labour Group have also committed to providing more support and assistance to the Educational Welfare team who ensure school attendance is high and to provide more support to those suffering from Autism and ADHD.
The County Council will vote on the budget and the amendment on the 13th February.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The amendment reads
This Council agrees that the following amendments be made to the Revenue Budget 2014-15 and Capital Programme 2014-17:
1) The following savings as listed in Annex D be altered or removed:
ACS2 – Workforce Development, removed in full – £100,000
ACS3 – Efficiency Savings on non-care purchasing, to be reduced by half to allow for the retention of the staff training element – £100,000
ACS5 – Supporting People, removed in full – £2,000,000
ACS7 – Libraries & Archives efficiencies, to be reduced by £70,000 to allow for the retention of an adequate book stock fund – £70,000
CYP3 – Other Changes in Services within the NOM, savings to be reduced by £1 million to allow for increased funding to third-sector organisations and no reduction in training and workforce development – £1,000,000
CYP4 – Learning Improvement Service & other non-statutory services to schools, to be removed in full, with any saving in terminated services transferred to the Learning Improvement Service. – £500,000
RM2 – To be reduced by £260,000 to allow for the retention of the Corporate Regeneration Fund – £260,000
2) The following services be enhanced with additional funding:
CYP Integrated teams, to enable the recruitment, training and retention of additional Educational Welfare Officers – £250,000
CYP Commissioning & Inclusive Services, to improve services for children and young people with Autism & ADHD – £250,000
Overall Total: £4,530,000
3) The total increase in revenue expenditure of £4,530,000 be taken from the Contingency Reserve, reducing the expected level from £17.1 million to £12.57 million.
4) A sum of £100,000 be allocated from the Capital Financing Reserve to fund the commencement of preparatory work for a Third Crossing of Lake Lothing.
5) The £1.8 million in the Earmarked Reserves under On-Street Parking account be allocated to Highways Minor Capital Schemes in the Economy Skills & Environment Capital Programme for 2014-15.