Proposed budget “political cowardice” claim.
Labour councillors in Walsall are accusing the ruling Tory/Lib Dem leadership of the council of political cowardice as it prepares a budget that puts votes before pensioners and the vulnerable and continues to conceal the full extent of a massive £104 million cuts in services imposed by the coalition government.
The Labour group on the council is repeating its call for the council’s cabinet to spell out the consequences of the government’s reduction in funding after neighbouring Wolverhampton council revealed 2000 jobs are to go.
Labour group leader Tim Oliver said the proposed budget to be discussed tonight (Thursday 27th February) by Walsall’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat partnership running the council, will lead to a short fall in adult care and is a deliberate attempt to hide the facts from the people of the borough before May’s crucial elections.
Councillors will hear the cabinet’s budget which will outline cuts of £21 million, but this only covers the next 12 months. Council officers have already predicted that the next financial year will see further cuts of £32 million, with more to follow further down the road.
Cllr Oliver added: “Even a cursory examination of this budget shows it has a clear shortfall in funding and obvious shortcomings for social care. They haven’t said this openly because they looking to save their own political skins rather than tell voters the truth
“In not doing what Wolverhampton and other authorities have done, and spell out the long term consequences of the cuts imposed by a government they support, smacks of political cowardice and deceit by the Tories and Lib Dems,” he said.
“If the scale of the cuts in Wolverhampton is representative of Walsall, then the benefit of regeneration schemes such as the proposed Primark and Phoenix 10 developments, will be wiped out by deliberate coalition government policy. The cabinet fear being that being honest with the people of Walsall will lead them to being punished at the ballot box; so they are hiding the truth about job losses and cuts in services.
“This makes a mockery of the meeting and the consultation on the cuts and as a group we can’t vote for a budget which seeks to hide the reality of the coalition government’s cuts on Walsall. However we also have to acknowledge the requirement that the council sets a legal budget in order to ensure that vulnerable people across our borough, such as children being taken into care or elderly people being discharged from hospital, are not harmed.”