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Lib Dems launch budget statement in response to Tory county budget

February 26, 2019 3:00 PM

Wiltshire Cllr Budget StatementLib Dem councillors on Wiltshire Council voted against the County's ruling Conservative budget for 2019/20 and proposed an alternative approach.

Speaking in the debate this morning, Lib Dem leader Cllr Ian Thorn described the budget as "failing the people of Wiltshire".

Cllr Thorn added, "Today's budget is more of the same. For 10 years Wiltshire residents have witnessed relentless cuts.

- Our youth service has been abolished.

- Our outdoor education centres threatened,

- Car parking charges have soared

All this while countless pots holes are left unfilled and voluntary groups unsupported.

Local Town and parish councils are having to step in to provide services the County used to do and to raise taxes as a result.

This Administration also increases the Council Tax to the maximum for the second year running.

This "double taxation" of our residents can't be right.

But the biggest charge must be Wiltshire Council's failure to learn from our near neighbours:

- Youth services flourish in neighbouring in Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset - Dorset has successfully developed new revenue streams,

- Lib Dem run Cornwall has pushed through ambitious affordable housing programmes and South Somerset is even building new homes in Wiltshire.'

Yet in Wiltshire there is no vision, ambition or deliveryโ€Ž. 'Pay more and get less for it' it is the Tory message.

Well we have an alternative one - a Lib Dem budget that delivers for Wiltshire

Our budget statement sets out key priorities for Wiltshire:

- a revitalised youth service building on community partnerships and external funding,

- rapid expansion of the Shared Lives initiative that brings greater happiness to vulnerable people and those providing them with new family homes,

- more support for community land trusts to build truly affordable homes for local people,

- greater devolution of real power and assets to local communities


- a thorough review of Wiltshire Council's ability to deliver for local residents.

The statement is the start of our preparations for power. When Wiltshire residents chose their new Council in 2021, we will be ready with a positive, alternative vision and programme to deliver it.

"For 10 years Wiltshire Conservatives have failed. They failed to do things differently, failed to learn from other successful local authorities and failed to create and work in true partnership to deliver services," said group leader, Cllr Ian Thorn.

"Our Budget document starts the process to building the real alternative to end Conservative rule in our County at the first opportunity to do so."

Speaking about tโ€Žhe Budget Day's Council Agenda, Lib Dem Group Chair, Cllr Steve Oldrieve said, "The Council's budget meeting agenda for Tuesday (26th February) shows yet again that on the major issues it is the Liberal Democrat Councillors that are on the side of Wiltshire residents."

"From fighting the likely and very serious impacts of climate change, supporting refugees that need help desperately, to trying to save Salisbury library. It is the Lib Dems who are speaking up and reflecting the views and values of Wiltshire people."

To read the full paper click here.