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Lib Dems unveil county council alternative budget

February 5, 2019 2:52 PM

Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have set out their proposed amendments to improve the Conservative County Council budget for 2019/20.

The Liberal Democrats have already described the Conservative Budget, with its 5% council tax rise, as "disappointing".

In response the group has revealed it's "Six to Fix" budget proposals, to be presented to a meeting of the county council on February 13.

With a focus on giving more cash to mental health issues, public transport and local roads, Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are looking to:

  • Give £530,000 to local highway priorities by increasing the amount of money given to councillors "Highways Local" fund
  • Invest £372,000 in public transport to support rural bus routes
  • Support Public Health with a £300,000 investment, focusing on mental health in young people

The Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are also looking to improve the budget by cancelling:

  • The proposed £134,000 cut to "Services for People with Physical Disabilities"
  • The ill-judged cuts to recycling centres, as well as increasing summer opening hours to 7pm in a bid to support recycling - costing £127,000
  • The unjustified 20% hike to road permit parking, costing £94,000

On these amendments, Councillor Jeremy Hilton, group finance spokesman, said: "The amendments proposed by the Liberal Democrat group are all significant improvements on a largely disappointing budget presented by the Conservative administration.

"Our fully funded amendments support local people while also seeking to mitigate the harshest policies being proposed by a council struggling to balance the books after years of Conservative austerity."

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat group leader, added: "I am particularly pleased by our proposal to invest in Gloucestershire's public health budget, one of the areas hit hardest by Conservative cuts.

"Our amendments would see a further four public health nurses employed to support young people's mental health, as well as one off funding for suicide prevention and sexual health.

"I am optimistic that the Conservative administration will recognise the contribution these amendments would make to Gloucestershire's residents, and that they will accept our 'Six to Fix'."