After long and careful consideration, I today signed off on the Amendment to the Conservative Council’s budget proposal, which is due to be debated by Full Council on the 11th Feb.
This amendment took hours of work with Group Leader Sandy Martin and consultations with Shadow Portfolio Holders, Officers and Researchers.
The end result: A total of £10.72m is to be vired from the Contingency Reserves and a further £3m from the Capital Reserves and Capital Enhancement, a total in all of £13.72m.
Highlights of the Budget Amendment are:
- The full replacement of the Community Transport (£0.2m) and Fire Service (£0.3m) cuts due to be made this year ensuring that these services remain strong and resilient
- The sum of £4.9m saved from being cut from the Adult and Social Care budget, so that growing demand for long term care needs are met
- Funds will be available (£0.35m) to reinstate and replace the Children’s Centres and retain and recruit staff to run them
- The retention and replacement of funds for the Library Service (£0.54m) will ensure books remain on the shelves and the County Archives are kept in good order
- Highways Capital Maintenance (£2m) will enable more of our crumbling roads to be properly resurfaced
- And the Brown Bin Tax will not now be required.
Labour Councillors believe that these things are all essential to the security and long-term wellbeing of the people of Suffolk.
The cruel cuts proposed by the Tories in this year’s Budget, coming on top of the sums slashed from essential services in previous years, will undermine their effectiveness at a time when demand is growing and needs are increasing. Our Amendment will return only a relatively small amount to the Budget but, we believe, will achieve maximum benefits.
And we believe it to be sustainable.
The doctrinaire slashing policy of this Tory administration needs to be contained.
We, the Labour County Councillors, have done what we can to save some of the frontline services which help make this County such a wonderful place to live.