Labour’s Response to the proposed County Council Budget.

“The Labour group at the County Council feels strongly that the proposed budget for 2019-2020 has been in effect written for us by the government, due to their continued inability to recognise that the demographic adult social care pressures are an issue facing the whole country.

The proportion of the budget spent on Adult Social Care and Looked after Children, is now nearly 70% of our total budget. Funding in these areas is vital to ensure that people who most need it receive the level of care and dignity that they deserve. As a result other budgets get squeezed, sometimes out of existence like the School Library Service recently.

Labour have therefore concentrated on protecting some of the key front line services, without diverting any monies from Adult Social Care, Looked after Children or frontline Highways Services. They intend to invest an additional £325,000 into the hard pressed library service which would mean reversing the proposed cuts for 2019-20 and putting additional monies taken out last year, back in to provide much needed books and computers and ensure that no library has to close. It also allows some of the suggestions in the current consultation to be considered, with reduced pressure to cut things. Since 2010 the library budget has been cut by £3.7 million and this cannot continue.

Labour also want to put an additional £100,000 into the budget to tackle the most iniquitous issue of homelessness. All those of us lucky enough to be in secure housing cannot fully appreciate just how unpleasant and bleak being homeless is. Labour group leader Robin Lunn stated, “No civilised society should tolerate anyone sleeping on the streets against their free will, and we need to do everything we can to eradicate the problem. Some years ago, the county were providing funding in this area 10 times what it is now. We need to focus our thin resources on doing far more to assist the districts in resolving this tragic issue”.

Labour also want to return further monies back into the Archive and Archelogy service, to ensure that it remains viable to preserve the county’s heritage. These vital investments will be paid for by reducing the increase but not the budget of the Property Services team as well as some non frontline Highways savings.

Cllr Lunn concludes, “We wish to focus what little money is available on protecting and in the case of Libraries and Homelessness adding to frontline services, to ensure they remain viable. However the people of Worcestershire need to know that without a proper solution to the social care funding crisis, as proposed by Labour, people will pay more council tax for reduced services. This is not where we should be!”