There is no end in sight for austerity with £23 million of further cuts proposed by the controlling Conservative group for 2019-2020 along with a further 3.99% increase in Council tax.
After 8.5 years of cuts and cut backs, Worcestershire is set to experience more of the same despite promises from the Prime Minister at the Tory Party Conference in October that austerity was coming to its end.
“The major problem continues to be caused by the inability of the Conservative government to fund adult social care properly or even publish its green paper on the subject which is over a year late”, declared Labour Group Leader Robin Lunn.
“In his budget speech of October 29th, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond declared that the green paper would be out “very shortly” but nothing has been forthcoming obscured by the continuing government infighting over Brexit. As a result County Councils struggle on with more and more of their budgets being used to fund adult social care and less and less funding everything else. When is the government going to take this matter seriously and realise that it is a long term issue which is not going to go away stated Cllr Lunn.
The government are reducing its own contribution to our services by £9.4 million which will cause yet further problems for everyone.
Even with these further cuts, the budget has to dip further into our reserves. This is not sustainable and it is not surprising that the spectre of Northamptonshire looms over all County Councils.
What the Labour Group will do is to study all the proposed figures carefully over Christmas and present its own ideas and budget proposals prior to the budget council meeting in February. What we would do is bring to a close the consultation on the future direction of the Library Service in Worcestershire and secure the future of all the libraries as well as not introducing the level of parking charges at the countryside centre in Worcester.
“The Council also needs to be better at maximising the income it can generate such as enforcing trading standards more constructively which also benefits the general public”
While austerity continues to reign, we all suffer. It is time to end this emasculation of Councils and for the Conservative government to finally fund adult social care properly” said Cllr Lunn.