On Saturday 4 March Suffolk’s very own Baroness Ros Scott joined Lib Dem party chair Baroness Sal Brinton to launch the Suffolk Lib Dem party manifesto for the elections in May.
We have now had had a decade of conservative cuts letting local people down. Since 2005 the Conservatives have run the County Council, consistently reducing services, rather than looking after the real needs of local people. Suffolk Liberal Democrats believe there is a better way and we need urgent action in some important areas.
Suffolk Lib Dems’ SIX priorities for local people
Provide a £5m boost to adult social care
Invest in the infrastructure to support new housing – roads, schools and doctor’s surgeries
Fund a county-wide mental health programme in schools
Fix our roads and pavements
Invest in local bus services and make park and ride buses more frequent
Yesterday saw the setting of the County Budget for 2017-18. With an election in May this was always a day when we would emphasise the difference between the parties and it did not disappoint. The was lots of Conservative emphasis on keeping spend down and how they have amassed large reserves over the past seven years. Labour wanted to spend to preserve services and give the residents of Suffolk what they need. We felt the Conservatives were cutting too hard but Labour were spending at the top limit of what would be possible.
My approach -on behalf of the LibDeb group- is below, seeking to use the resources available but not take unreasonable risks. In the end the administration carried the day and a further £30 million will be cut from services.
John Field: Deputy Leader of Suffolk Lib Dem Group & County Councillor for Gipping Valley
At the last County Council meeting (14th July) during the debate on the Annual Equalities and Inclusion Report 2016, leader David Wood asked for the following to be clarified, on his own behalf and on that of Cllrs Penny Otton and Caroline Page :-
Referring to point 3 of the report – ” Empower more people with protected characteristics to live safe, healthy and independent lives”. Could the proposer please tell me how the recently awarded Community Transport Contracts fits in with this report – especially its equality objectives.
For instance I know in Mid Suffolk one cannot use a bus pass to access these services – yet in other areas of Suffolk you can.
In my own area I am receiving complaints regarding these new services: these come from a young person with Downs Syndrome; a person with visual impairment; and a wheelchair user – all have been told they cannot access services they have come to rely on and have become an important part of their lives. In one case a person’s job is at risk; another is seriously considering moving away from the village she has lived in all her life.
My question is, how does this fit in with our equality and inclusion objectives?
Cllr Goldson could not provide an answer during the debate but has assured me he will look into this and will be replying to the question raised.
The Portfolio holder for Highways and Transport was strangely silent during the debate.
David Wood Group Leader
Views and News from Suffolk County Council Liberal Democrats