Tories target rural Suffolk as budget is slashed

Cllr Jack Owen, Labour Group Spokesperson for Highways and Rural Affairs has expressed his anger after the following announcement of ‘dangerous’ budget proposals. It is now clear that Tories on Suffolk County Council have finally thrown the towel in on public services in Suffolk as this budget is a direct attack on roads, public transport and rural communities.

The budget proposals – which will likely become the final budget – are extremely dangerous and will no doubt run the risk of to an increase in accidents across Suffolk. The budget will

  • Stop road sign cleaning
  • Stop the maintenance of non-mandatory road markings
  • Reduce the bus subsidy
  • Reduce the number of roads that are gritted
  • Cut £500,000 of staff costs
  • Review of car parking charges

The combined impact of no road signs, no road markings and no buses are going to mean the roads are less safe. This is wilful neglect on the part of Conservatives on the council.

Cllr Owen said; “The sign of stupidity is to do the same thing again and again but expect a different outcome. Last year our roads were blighted by pot holes because of the ‘Beast from the East’. This year, instead of looking after the road system by properly gritting and maintaining them the council is planning to neglect them. We know that this means more rural areas will be more greatly affected when the bad weather returns. This is a false economy because we know the when we don’t look after our roads evidence shows our insurance pay-outs increase.

“Our rural villages will be further hit by this budget as bus subsidies will be cut. This will make many bus services in Suffolk financially unviable and leave many people more isolated, more vulnerable or unable to get to jobs and access services. This will cost the council more in the long run.

“This is not just a desperate budget, but a dangerous budget that will leave people worse off, without the support they need. We need achievable, alternative measures that will support income generation and service delivery, not a budget that hits rural communities.”

The Budget was discussed by the County Council’s Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 22nd November.

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