WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL LABOUR GROUP
2016-18 COUNTY BUDGET
“Pay more local Council Tax and get fewer local services”, that’s the empty-promise of the Conservatives as a result of today’s Budget debate at Warwickshire County Council.
Labour Cllr Maggie O'Rourke (Rugby, Lawford & New Bilton Division) said, “Following the announcement by the Treasury of an additional £12m Government cut to the Revenue Support Grant in 2016-17, there was always going to be serious pressure on departments."
Effective from April, this will have a huge and immediate effect on the people of Warwickshire.
“The vote was won 28 for, 23 against and 10 abstained. From April, in addition to the Council Tax at 2%, there will be a further 2% tax to pay for Adult Social Care as a result of George Osborne failing to take responsibility for this area. But this ‘levy’ will in no way address the crisis faced in Adult Social Care.”
The Labour group underlined that the budget cuts were a simple choice, driven by the Conservatives’ principles and ideology.
Maggie O'Rourke added,
“The Tories just don’t care. If you don’t levy enough tax centrally, as this Conservative Government prefers not to do, there is no chance of providing essential services in our communities. What was most shocking was that the LibDems agreed with the Tories to a £1.3m cut to maintain housing related support for vulnerable people on the edge of care. It is abundantly clear that this Government is being ‘lax on tax’ while tough on the vulnerable, on Adult Social Care, on Mental Health and on children in care. Sadly, the LibDems seem comfortable with this otherwise they would have voted against it.
“The Tory Government has chosen to reduce corporation tax from 28% to 21% in 5 years for large corporates such as Google and facebook, at a rate now lower than in the US; and then they don’t even chase up payment! Accepting 2.5% tax from Google over 10 years is a disgrace, not a victory. And the public suffers.”
Throughout the Budget Debate, Labour sought to put people first by preserving or increasing the budgets for Mental Health, the Elderly and to protect children. Labour budget priorities were to:
- Maintain housing related support for vulnerable people (providing help for the elderly in-home), accommodation for victims of domestic abuse, vulnerable families, people suffering with mental health, young people coming out of care. These are examples of those most vulnerable groups who will be most at risk from these Tories cuts.
- Form a fund to support adults and children’s mental health services (£700,000)
- Introduce efficiencies and better customer opening hours to Household waste sites
- Support vulnerable children through Children’s Centres in the most deprived areas (£300k each year) of Warks
- Support Super Kitchens (£50k / yr.)
- Reduce the number of Cabinet members (from 9 to 7)
- Cut the senior management structure
- Cut conferences and catering
Overall, the real crisis is Adult Social Care.
The national shortfall of £700m for Adult Social Care, rising to £2.9 billion by 2020, is critical but no surprise when put into context; in 2009 the budget represented 1.2% of GDP but now this figure has fallen to just 0.6% according to The Kings Fund (Dec 2015). The OECD confirms this stating that the UK is heading towards the bottom of the league table for care as a % of GDP. As a result, now just 1 in 10 people over 50 are not having their care needs met.
Cllr Alan Webb (Rugby, Brownsover division) said:
“In summary, “Osborne-omics” is not working. There is virtually no growth in the economy while at the same time the Chancellor takes a wrecking ball to local services through his local workmen.
“What I found most appalling is that the LibDems opposed the Conservative proposals at first, but in return for a few thousand pounds agreed not to oppose them any further and the numbers game meant that the tweaked budget would get through.
“If the LibDems had any commitment to protecting the vulnerable, their nine opposing votes would have caused an upset with 28 for and 32 against, but as usual they sit on their hands for a small bribe. They really do not care.”
“Labour pressed for a socially just, progressive budget to help those people most vulnerable in our society. It is a real shame that the LibDems agreed to approve, through abstention, the Conservative Budget and ignore the desperate needs of so many vulnerable people in Warwickshire.”
Maggie O'Rourke 07710679355
Alan Webb 07798908972
WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL LABOUR GROUP 2016-18 COUNTY BUDGET “Pay more local Council Tax and get fewer local services”, that’s the empty-promise of the Conservatives as a result of today’s Budget debate at Warwickshire County Council. Labour...