A Fair Budget for Tough Times

March 26, 2011 8:04 AM

There is no doubt that the country and our City are facing major challenges as the Coalition Government attempts to tackle the record budget deficit left by Labour.

Newcastle's Lib Dem councillors have been prepared to take on ministers in the Coalition Government to argue for a better deal for the city - when did Labour ever stand up to its own people in Whitehall?

Local government finances are due to be reformed over the next two years and we will continue to argue for a fairer system in future. Recognising the size of the challenge, Lib Dem councillors have worked alongside senior managers to produce a Council budget that protects front line services - particularly those that residents see in their local neighbourhoods - and is fair to all. In addition, by focusing on efficiency, Council Tax will be frozen for the coming year.

In contrast, Labour have offered no proposals despite being free to do so.

This should not be a surprise. Under Labour, Council Tax rose by 6.6% per year between 1998 and 2004. Under the Lib Dems the rise since 2004 is 2.1% per year. Running the City is hard work - but over the last few years, only the Lib Dems have proved themselves up to the job.

Newcastle budget's for 2011-12 was agreed on 2nd March. The Lib Dem controlled Council will :

  • Freeze Council tax
  • Keep free weekly bin collections and fortnightly recycling & garden waste collections
  • Keep open all 18 libraries across the city
  • Keep open all 7 leisure centres and 5 swimming pools
  • Keep locally-based neighbourhood response teams who tackle litter, graffiti and fly tipping
  • Keep the night-time noise service 7 days a week
  • Keep Children's Centres so that kids get a good start in life
  • Keep care for the vulnerable and elderly at the same level
  • Investment in improving pavements and roads