Sefton Labour Group steers through budget following "deepest and

Peter Dowd

 

Sefton Council last night supported the Labour budget for the coming year which saw Labour’s proposals save local services at a time of the deepest government cuts in the borough's history. 

Labour Group and Sefton Council Leader Peter Dowd steered through £20.5m worth of savings following the "deepest and widest consultation" Sefton had ever conducted with the public.  

Cllr Dowd said: “I’d like to thank all those who responded, people’s comments were of great help in setting the budget.” 

Despite facing a £20.5m Tory-Lib Dem government cut in its budget this year, which follows a £44m cut last year, the Labour Group compiled a budget which not only froze council tax for the year, but also safeguarded vital public services. 

Cllr Dowd said: "Despite being given a very raw deal by this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government which has seen our budget slashed again, my Labour colleagues and I have been working around the clock to find savings which will not hit frontline council services. 

"We held the deepest and widest consultation with the public we have ever held in order to find ways in which we can make the savings without hurting the most vulnerable. 

"Although it is still painful, we have managed to come up with a budget which does safeguard services. 

"Last minute discussions were had to save the aviary and nursery at Southport's botanic gardens from closure and we managed not to have to introduce a hike in pitch fees for Sunday leagues and other sports throughout the borough. 

"Other services we have managed to safeguard include Sefton Play Council, lifeguard cover at council swimming pools, transport for disabled people and Community Care support staff. 

"This is what the people of the borough wanted and that is why the Labour Group have worked so hard to come up with a budget which, despite the attack on the council by this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government, has saved jobs and services for the people of Sefton." 

The Labour Group leader slammed the Liberal Democrats for "a cynical and disgraceful attempt to bribe people of Sefton".

Cllr Dowd said: "The Lib Dems' amendments were nothing more than a desperate bid to try and bribe people in Sefton.  

"We have already introduced a five per cent cut in Councillors' allowances and as they know full well, we have announced a further review which will look at all allowances. 

"Their proposed Council Tax rebate equates to nothing more than £1 per month and it fools no one. This is their Conservative-Liberal Democrat government which is imposing these cuts on Sefton, while the leafy suburbs down south are actually seeing government budget increases."