Lib Dems tell Labour: CUT WASTE, NOT SERVICES

April 1, 2012 6:08 PM

Liberal Democrats say that the Labour Council's huge budget cuts to services are damaging and unnecessary.

The Lib Dems tabled a series of amendments at the City Council meeting at the beginning of March, proposing alternative savings, but Labour voted against them all! Labour Councillor Barry Phillipson said at the meeting that this was "the best budget he had ever seen in all his years on the Council." Labour voted through huge cuts to front line services, including those in our neighbourhoods. They even voted to close disabled toilets, bump up meals-on-wheels charges and kill off the mobile library service - hitting the oldest and most vulnerable in the city hard. "They've just taken the axe to front-line services" said Lemington Lib Dem activist Lawrence Hunter. "There is ample opportunity to save money and protect many of these vital services."

Labour is slashing neighbourhood services like street cleaning, grass cutting, graffiti removal, the mobile library service, getting rid of specialist park keepers and rangers, bringing in a £20 charge for the brown bins and increasing meals on wheels prices by 20%.

Lib Dems also proposed hiring extra apprentices, to be paid for by making the trade unions at the Civic Centre pay for their own full time officers and by cutting the staff and allowances of the Labour leadership so that they were no more than under the Lib Dems. Lemington Lib Dem Councillor Liz Langfield said: "Our amendments would have tackled residents' concerns, but as usual Labour put party politics before the people ofNewcastleand voted them down. They also voted to hand £475,000 of taxpayers' money to the unions to fund unions' own staff, rather than using the money to protect jobs and services. The Lib Dems support the role and work of the trades unions but believe that union members' subscriptions should pay for union staff."

We know that councils are being forced to make tough decisions because of the huge national deficit left by the last Labour Government. But councils still have choices - and Labour have made the wrong ones. It's not good enough. "Labour voted to protect their own interests They got elected on empty promises last year and they've been a disaster for the city".