Labour and Lib Dems table budget revisions ahead of county hall debate - The Evesham Observer

Labour and Lib Dems table budget revisions ahead of county hall debate

Evesham Editorial 15th Feb, 2023   0

A BID to ‘protect services, invest in our future and to protect vulnerable residents’ has been revealed by Labour and Liberal Democrat county councillors.

The opposition groups have tabled two amendments to the proposed Worcestershire County Council budget for 2023/24 which will be discussed on Thursday (February 16).

Instead of a 4.94 per cent raise being proposed by Worcestershire’s ruling Conservative council, the opposition have tabled a 4.99 per cent raise which they claim will cost an additional 70 pence a year for a Band D tax payer.

The proposals also involve selling surplus land, not used by the County Council, to raise capital to invest more than £10million in public services, including green energy, special education needs, youth work, public libraries and helping people to stay in their homes and avoid social care costs.

Labour and Liberal Democrat chiefs claim the changes will also save both St John’s Library and Warndon Library from closure though there are no formal suggestions either site is at risk of such a threat.

Coun Mel Allcott, leader of the county Liberal Democrats, said “This is an imaginative budget proposal which not only invests in our future but could also return dividends for the future, in the long-term saving the tax payer money.

“We believe in making sure public services are protected and we believe our proposals will help many residents, especially those who need our help the most”.

Coun Richard Udall, chair of Worcestershire Labour councillors added “We believe the future of St John’s and Warndon Libraries needs to be secured, a very modest increase of Council Tax, of just 0.70 pence a year, will enable us to keep our all of our libraries open for local residents, providing a community hub for learning, enjoyment, leisure and a place to keep warm during winter months.

“I promised to fight tooth and nail to protect this service and I urge local residents to lobby their county councillors to try and ensure our proposals are accepted, we need public libraries, with professional Liberians which are open and accessible for the public.”

In addition to a proposed 2.94 per cent rise in its share of the monthly levy, a further two per cent increase is being suggested by Worcestershire’s Conservatives to fund the rising costs of adult social care across Worcestershire.

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