Labour group wants to ease cuts by using Suffolk County Council’s reserves

Suffolk County Council will be considering its budget on Thursday.

Suffolk County Council will be considering its budget on Thursday. - Credit: Archant

The opposition Labour group at Suffolk County Council is to propose an alternative budge to next week’s council meeting in a bid to ease the impact of proposed spending cuts.

It is proposing to spend £12 million more than the current Conservative administration, including £3.5 million on support for seven academies that have been identified as having serious problems by Ofsted.

It also wants to spend £1 million on new housing support for those leaving the care system and for families in difficulties because of domestic problems.

And a further £1 million would be put into the home care system – aimed particularly at supporting people who have recently been release from hospital.

Labour also wants to spend an extra £350,000 on children’s centres – meaning the proposed building closures could be reversed.

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In total there are 21 areas where cuts should reversed, with the money coming from the county’s reserves.

Labour group leader Martin said; “Last year we said the Tories’ cuts would end up with failing schools, young people without jobs or training, and vulnerable older people unable to leave hospital and go home because of a shortage of safe care. It gives us no satisfaction to say ‘We told you so’!

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“The money that the Tories are continuing to squirrel away in reserves is sitting idle instead of improving people’s lives.”

Cabinet member for finance Jenny Antill rejected the Labour proposals. She said: “Sadly, Labour will never understand the financial realities, less still acknowledge the mess that they created. It would be easy, as Labour propose, to spend other people’s money, and dream up nice-sounding, short-term fixes.

“It is far harder, in a time of austerity, to focus on providing sustainable services and delivering on our priorities, not just this year and next, but for years to come.”

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