MP says time to let local councils hold the budget strings

RIBBLE Valley Tory MP Nigel Evans has hit back at new county council (LCC) cuts by calling for funding to be taken from county councils and given to local borough councils instead.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans

He spoke out following the release of a county council hit list of more than 100 buildings - including libraries and children’s centres, which LCC is proposing to sell or cease renting to save money.

He said: “LCC have decided to deprive residents of critical services, which they themselves are paying for through council tax. In these situations where the county council has decided to ignore their responsibilities to provide services, I believe that money should be given to local councils, so they can provide the services that people need.”

He claimed the council was blaming cuts in Government funding while sitting on cash reserves of £300m plus.

But David Borrow, the Council’s Deputy Leader and finance spokesman, replied: ”On current budget projections we will have run out of reserves by March 2018 and we will be looking to find additional savings of nearly £200m. Given that over half of the county council budget is spent on adult social care looking after the frail and elderly and disabled could Nigel tell us which of the frail, elderly and disabled in his constituency we should stop funding if funding is cut from LCC and given to Ribble Valley?”

He added: “We’ve explained on numerous occasions the budgeting position of the council.”

Meanwhile the Tories are asking the public to sign a protest petition calling for a reversal of cuts to libraries and services for children and the elderly and say they will be “calling in” any cuts decision for reconsideration as they have previously proposed alternative plans which would save services.

The Council’s cabinet meets next Thursday (September 8) to vote on the proposals to close numerous libraries and children’s and young people’s centres.