Council budget - "Good results when both halves of Council involved"

22 December 2020

Half the council demand urgency and joint working to deliver more for the community

The Green and Liberal Democrat Group formed by half the councillors elected to Mid Suffolk District Council wish to work with the administration to deliver the needs and requirements of Mid Suffolk residents in well-managed programmes. We want to extend the work done to date supporting people throughout this difficult Covid-19 pandemic, addressing the financial problems it creates but also acting to reduce Mid Suffolk’s impact on the climate. We declared a Climate Emergency 18 months ago and must deliver real action rapidly.

Group deputy leader councillor John Field said:

“The budget shows substantial surpluses which are resources which have not been used for the benefit of our residents. The Chancellor has seen the need to increase expenditure to support the economy and we too must strike the right balance between low tax and support to people and business. At present the administration is cautious in this area but markedly less so in embracing the risks of investment in commercial property via CIFCO. The government has restricted access to PWLB funds for this purpose and the group believes we should accept their decision and not extend the risks any further.”

Where we have worked with the Conservatives in joint groups on the environment and biodiversity, together we have produced excellent proposals, and we welcome the budget provisions for these. They must be turned into action without delay.“

Councillor Andrew Stringer added:

“The draft budget shows our efforts so far to extend electric vehicle charging across the district are minimal. A plan to provide many more charging points is essential for locals and tourists as more and more electric vehicles take to the road.Andrew Stringer

The emerging plan to upgrade our housing stock and encourage private sector upgrades is also slow to take off. These two steps are urgent given the extent of the work to be defined then accomplished to achieve zero carbon by 2030.

We welcome development of new Council housing stock but again delivery is slow. Designs and construction methods should provide exemplars to other developers demonstrating how to achieve a net zero carbon footprint now.”

In the first budget plans of the recently merged group, they want to see more frequent meetings open to the public, making the council more transparent and accountable. The improvements to democracy they advocated in last year’s budget have yet to be delivered, and the need to engage the public in tackling climate change makes this even more urgent.

Note: the Green & Liberal Democrat group comprises half the Council, but the Conservatives retain complete control of the Council through the casting vote of the chair.

 






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