Redcar & Cleveland’s Liberal Democrat Group today voted against Labour’s budget, calling it a “cop-out” which delays big decisions until after the May elections.
Liberal Democrats have welcomed the Council’s decision to set a 0% Council Tax rise. This has been made possible by a generous £1.4 million grant from central Government.
But other aspects of Labour’s budget are very concerning to Liberal Democrats. A major one is the lack of detail in the budget proposals.
Lib Dem Leader Councillor Chris Abbott, who represents Newcomen ward, said:
“We welcome the 0% Council Tax increase. In these tough economic times this will be a real help to low and middle income households. I am pleased that the Government has made this possible with its grant. I am also pleased that Labour has listened to advice from Liberal Democrats. We have been proposing a 0% increase since December.”
“However, Labour’s budget does not say specifically where the cuts will be made. It is a cop-out budget, with Labour hoping to delay big decisions about spending until after the local elections in May. Councillors cannot be expected to vote for a budget without knowing the detail. For example, we do not know what charges are going to be increased.”
“Tackling Labour’s disastrous financial mess was always going to be hard. Because local government spends 25% of all public money, councils were always going to have to play a big part in fixing the black hole in the country’s finances.”
“If Labour claim they can avoid making cuts to frontline services then there must have been a great deal of waste before. Much of what they are doing now could have been done over the two years they took to reorganise the Council. If they didn’t foresee this they need their heads examining.”