Press release: “Emergency Budget Called Should Labour Take Power In May”

Press release begins

Cllr Keith Austin, Labour Leader on Telford & Wrekin Council today launched a scathing attack on the Tory-led Council and the Coalition Government over proposed budget cuts going to Cabinet today. He stated that the cuts were too deep and too fast and has challenged the Tory Council Leader, Cllr Andrew Eade to join him in lobbying the Government against the £12m front loaded cuts for the coming financial year.

He said that the Labour Group had met last week to discuss the full implications of the cuts and were still awaiting further information to questions raised by them to Officers. He reported that Labour Councillors were outraged by the Tory Administration’s report “Service and Financial Planning 2011/12 to 2012/14” to Cabinet which identified the magnitude and range of these cuts, which included:

* £15.4million cuts in jobs at the Council
* £10.4 million cuts to the budgets for Care, Families, Safeguarding (Adults and Children
* £5.1m cut in Environmental Services – a 40% cut in road sweeping, a 35% cut in grassing cutting, a £362,000 cut in support for bus services, a £184,000 cut in concessionary travel for the elderly, a £186,000 cut in expenditure on roads and footpaths
* A back door cut to school funding of £1.2m in new charges or a withdrawal of services.

However, he stressed that more worrying was, that whilst implementing these cuts, the Tory Administration were also running down the Council’s reserves by £17million and most damning was their plan to spend tens of millions on New Civic Offices.

Cllr Austin said

“It is the role of Councillors to ensure that we provide the best services possible for the people we represent and I am absolutely incensed by the magnitude and range of these cuts. There is no justification for these level of cuts in the first year. They could be spread evenly and fairly over a 4 year period. That’s what the Labour Party is proposing and that’s what people across the country want as well. Should we take power in May, we will call an immediate Emergency Budget, with key actions being a review of the Tory Administration’s policy on building Civic Offices and plan a reduction in the Council’s growing capital debt mountain. Councillor Eade should concentrate his efforts in lobbying his Tory-led coalition Government on behalf of the people of Telford and Wrekin, calling for more phased and less severe budget cuts. I know that the Labour Group would welcome and support this stance and I would hope that all other councillors on Telford and Wrekin would do so too.”

End of Press Release

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