The Future of Leicestershire Hinges on May’s Elections
Liberal Democrats on Leicestershire County Council have voted against a Tory budget that included cuts of £32m and a Council Tax rise of 1.99%.
Papers accompanying the report1 forecast cuts to the budget over the next four years, will lead to very limited preventative or early intervention services, social care services running at the bare statutory minimum, no museums service, most libraries either being closed or run by communities, closure of household waste and recycling sites, and major reductions to highway maintenance.
Hinckley County Councillor Michael Mullaney said, "Leicestershire County Council is in a dire situation. Services look like they will be cut to a minimal level, far below the level of expectation of our residents."
The Tories claim that these problems are due to the reductions in government grant and that they are lobbying central government for more money for Leicestershire. However, an IFS analysis of the spending plans of the major parties following May's elections shows that the Conservative Party intends to cut departmental spending by £33bn, which will force even further cut backs from Councils.
The IFS showed that the Liberal Democrats would balance the budget with just £8.5bn of cuts to government departments, proving that such harsh cuts to public services are neither necessary or inevitable.
Michael added: "I'm glad that the Tories on Leicestershire County Council have recognised that the cuts to the Council are damaging and are lobbying for a fairer deal for Leicestershire, but it is their own party that plans to push through the harshest cuts if they're elected to government in May.
Today's budget showed that an underfunded Council will struggle no matter who's running it. The ability of the Council to provide services depends heavily on what funding it is provided by central government.
Even though no County Councillor is up for election this year, and the results will not change who's running County Hall, its future rests on May's election!"