Friday, 20 July 2007

Glyn Nightingale hits out at Labour's "frantic" claims

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Glyn Nightingale, former Cabinet member for Resources, on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has defended the Coalition's four years of excellent performance whilst in charge of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council with an attack on claims made by the Leader of the new administration:

"The leader of the Labour Group is setting up his excuses for breaking his election promise of Council Tax cuts when an increase next year is inevitable, especially because his Government's grant continually penalises Redcar & Cleveland.

"This year they gave £7.1m less than justified by its own assessment of needs. Next year Government financial stringency is likely to put even more pressure on Council finances.

"If what the Labour Leader says is true, there would have been no chance of the Coalition achieving its 4-Star Excellent rating from Government Inspectors. No council can get an Excellent rating unless its use of financial resources is in the top brackets. The Coalition made sure we were.

"The Council faces more demands for people in care and environmental services. So our priorities were sound when we put an extra £18.5m into care for the elderly, young people and environmental services as well as making £17.5m of efficiency savings.

"He fails to say that his Government is forcing the Council to make even more efficiency gains that cannot be re-invested in services any longer. That's one of the real challenges he is facing along with Labour's additional commitments, eg £2m for Town Hall and Finegan Hall repairs.

"Maintenance of leisure centres and swimming baths has been part of the responsibilities of TVLL as part of the contract set up by Labour.

"Labour left the real financial mess for the Coalition to sort out. To get no Council Tax increases for three years, Labour cut services and neglected repairs to roads and Council buildings. We introduced an affordable, planned maintenance programme. Also, each year Labour's zero Council Tax rises cost the Council over £7m in lost Government grant.

"The frantic language and distortions presented by Labour, through their leader, confirms our election warning that Labour cannot be trusted."

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