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Lib Dems Demand Better – Rebuilding Capacity

February 18, 2019 2:00 PM

Jeremy Hilton & Declan WilsonThe Liberal Democrats have announced a package of proposals aimed at reversing the decline of Gloucester City Council under the Conservatives.

The Lib Dems will put forward amendments worth £560,000 to the council's 2019/20 budget, which will be discussed by councillors on February 28.

The budget will be proposed by the Conservative administration, but Lib Dem councillors will attempt to amend it with a plan to rebuild the capacity of the council to deliver better services.

Lib Dem group leader Councillor Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton) said the amendments will not increase the council tax any further than the 3% already planned.

"The Conservatives have been cutting back year after year. To save money they are flogging off our offices in The Docks and moving into cramped rented accommodation on the top floor at Shire Hall," he said.

"Over the years 245 staff have lost their jobs. Our streetcare services are failing. That is why the council has been dubbed the 'Vanishing Council'. Lib Dems demand better.

"Our proposals will help rebuild capacity. We are targeting planning and regeneration with three extra permanent members of staff, to deliver projects faster. This will cost just £130,000 per year.

"We cannot let the Fleece Hotel remain unrestored, for example, because there are so few staff to progress important projects.

"Lib Dems will be supporting communities around the city with £119,500 worth of extra grant funding for good causes.

"One example might be a grant to help the group working to restore the Elmscroft Community Centre.

"We would also invest £100,000 to create a new city council managed housing development company to build affordable homes to rent and buy. This company may work with partners to help finance more homes for social rent."

Lib Dem deputy leader Councillor Declan Wilson (Hucclecote) said: "We demand better from our council.

"The Tories are planning to deliver further cuts in future under their transformation proposals. We shall redirect resources towards assisting regeneration projects instead.

"Our museums have thousands of items that need to be catalogued, we shall use £100,000 from the 100% Business Rates Pilot surpluses, which is expected to be at least £800,000, to fund a two-year project.

"Similarly, we shall use another £100,000 to create a special earmarked reserve to fight planning appeals. Surprisingly, the council hasn't such a fund to defend its own planning decisions.

"Finally, we want to see more drinking water bottle refill points located around the city centre, like the one at the new bus station. We will create a £10,000 fund to achieve this objective."