Essex Lib Dem plan to invest in young people and repair roads and pavements

February 11, 2016 3:28 PM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

Young People need your helpProposals for extra support for young people, and to undertake more road and pavement repairs were tabled at Essex County Council, by the Liberal Democrats in the budget debate this week. However, these were rejected by the Conservatives, who approved a budget containing £75 million of cuts, which will hit vulnerable youngsters and older people.

Liberal Democrat proposals would have:

  • Invested an extra £0.5 million in youth mental health services for preventative measures and reducing the time young people need to wait for help
  • Invested extra funding for young people by creating a £0.5 million fund for local youth group projects, which would help improve young people's skills and divert them from anti-social behaviour
  • Doubled funding for local highways projects, including local safety schemes, and giving Local Highways Panels more control over their budget;
  • Created a £2m fund for larger highways schemes (such as significant junction improvements and pedestrian crossings) delivered by Local Highways Panels.

However, despite winning support from other opposition parties, the changes were voted down by the Conservative majority.

The Conservative budget increases council tax by 4% and imposes large cuts including:

  • Adult Social Care - £44m;
  • Local highways projects - £4m;
  • Local bus services - £1.5m;
  • Children's mental health - £600,000.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Mike Mackrory (Chelmsford, Springfield) said:

"The Liberal Democrat budget would have delivered increased funding for pavements and road maintenance compared with last year, boosted funding for local safety schemes and provided extra support for some of the most vulnerable children in Essex. It would have reversed some of the national and local Conservative cuts."

Cllr. Stephen Robinson (Chelmsford North) commented:

"The Government at Westminster has delivered a double whammy to local councils. They have forced huge cuts AND a big tax rise onto councils.

"Local Conservatives may say they are unhappy, but they got this Government elected a year ago."

Cllr. Jude Deakin (Chelmsford West) added:

"Liberal Democrats in the previous Coalition government made big strides towards giving mental health needs as high a priority as physical health. Essex Conservatives have now undone that good work."

Cllrs. Barry Aspinell and David Kendall (Brentwood) referred to different aspects of the cuts to highways and local schemes, referring to the millions in tax paid by residents for little in return.

Cllr. Theresa Higgins (Colchester Parsons Heath) highlighted the cuts to adult social care, including rises in charges and cutting access under the guise of 'greater independence'.