Ahead of tomorrow’s Isle of Wight council budget meeting, Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Andrew Garratt shares this news. In his own words. Ed
A budget amendment from the Isle of Wight Council’s Liberal Democrat group once again aims to protect and improve vital services for vulnerable adults and children, boost local entrepreneurial spirit, and back environmental initiatives.
Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Andrew Garratt, says:
“Despite his big election victory, Boris Johnson’s government has failed to deliver an ‘Island Deal’ and so, once again, the Isle of Wight Council is forced to make massive cuts in services.
“The Lib Dem budget amendment again shows there is a better approach than the one being taken by the Conservative administration.
“Our plans are sound. They are paid for by redirecting £1.5 million that the Conservative leadership would put into the ‘Transformation Reserve’.
“Instead we would invest an extra £700,000 in adult social care and £200,000 in children’s services. We would stop proposed cuts to beach cleaning and to community libraries. We would provide a free 30-minute parking trial in Newport High Street, and set up a £100,000 Enterprise Fund to back local entrepreneurs.
“Last year, councillors voted cross-party to declare a climate emergency. We would back the Council’s plans with a £250,000 fund to ensure that urgent action isn’t held up for lack of money
“Above all these and other proposals are underpinned by the liberal principles set out in our party’s constitution: ‘to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity’.”
The Lib Dem budget proposals are set out below.
Investing in caring services: Adult Social Care and Children’s Services
1. £700,000 for Adult Social Care
2. £200,000 additional funding to Children’s Services for their work with voluntary services and on Early Help initiatives
Investing in communities
3. £100,000 Community Public Realm Fund to support joint initiatives with town, parish and community councils – these councils are the closest to their communities; this fund will help them make improvements to public spaces that enhance community life
4. £18,000 to reverse the proposed reduction in funding to Community Libraries, including £15,000 to reverse the cuts to the book fund
5. £6,000 extra to support Community Libraries, which play an important part in community life for many people
6. £16,000 to reverse the proposed reduction in beach cleaning frequency
7. £20,000 for a Community Consultation Fund – too often we hear people say that the council hasn’t listened; this fund will help ensure the council is strengthens its community engagement and consultation culture
8. £20,000 funding for data analytic capacity, with a priority for support to the community safety strategy – good statistical analysis improves decision making and priority setting
Boosting business and entrepreneurial culture
9. £100,000 Enterprise Fund – to support entrepreneurs as they get their businesses under way. As the Isle of Wight draft local plan strategy notes: “The Island also benefits from an entrepreneurial culture with micro businesses (with five or fewer employees) accounting for 85% of local business.”
10. £70,000 to trial free 30-minute short stay parking in Newport High Street
Tackling climate change
11. £250,000 to establish Climate Emergency Initiatives Fund (including Active travel schemes) – this fund will help the Council deliver on its plans to respond to its cross-party declaration of a climate emergency