The Liberal Democrats are the party now providing the real opposition to the Conservatives at County Hall after all their Councillors opposed the Conservative budget today.
The budget, which introduces a Council tax increase of 4.99%, also sees a reduction of 2.5% to the Council’s Public Health budget, and an eye watering 72% reduction in the Education Services grant, piling further pressures on already over stretched hospitals and schools.
Cllr Denis Healy said;
“The Government is allowing local authorities to increase Council Tax by upto 2%, plus a further 3% to fund adult social care costs.”
“The East Riding Council will be implementing the maximum Council Tax increase they are allowed to make, but at the same time are managing to cut vital public service budgets that will affect our schools and hospitals.”
“The cuts to the local public health budget just adds insult to injury, given the crisis in our NHS caused by the Conservative government failing to provide the funding our NHS needs.”
“Last year they spent more time picking fights with junior doctors, whilst services suffered, and now we are being asked locally to endure a further reduction to the local public health grant of 2.5%, and this from a public health budget which was already the equal lowest per head in England.”
“The public health grant is spent on things which help prevent people becoming ill and using NHS resources, and yet that budget is now fair game for more Conservative cuts.”
“An example, is the reduction of £500,000 which the Council is proposing to make to the budget which pays for health visitors and school nurses. This means job cuts for professionals who provide specialist health care for families with babies and children; services which are so important for preserving health, preventing illnesses and safeguarding children.”
“NHS bosses warned two years ago that NHS funding is not keeping pace with demands on health services. With more and more people living longer, the need for care is increasing all the time. The NHS is struggling to cope.”
“Worse still, many patients finish their treatment but are left stranded in hospital because the health and care system isn’t able to give them the support they need at home. If hospitals become overcrowded, staff are put under impossible pressure and vulnerable patients are caused unnecessary distress.
“We need a fair funding package for the NHS to tackle the problems now, and can do without the national NHS funding crisis being made worse by the Council making even further cuts locally.”
“The Council tax rise of just under 5% is around three times the level of inflation, and will add £79 to the Council Tax of a Band D property in Beverley. So much for Theresa May’s pledge to support families who are “just about managing.”
“It’s wrong to be putting the burden of sorting the care crisis onto a tax which is unfair, which hits lower income households harder and which increases inequality across the country, as wealthy areas are able to raise more from this than poorer areas.”
“If you also consider the cuts that are being made to the Education Services Grant, which helps struggling schools to improve, in what is already one of the worst funded education authorities in the land, it’s clear that this is a budget which slashes public spending in already over stretched areas, and hits the vulnerable.
“The Liberal Democrat group is unable to support a budget which slashes health spending even further, and with Labour, UKIP and the independents supporting the Conservatives, it is clear that the Liberal Democrats are the only party on the East Riding Council who are prepared to stand up and hold this Council to account. “