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Budget snuck out under cover of darkness

by southgloslibdems on 25 January, 2016

Residents reacted in shock as South Gloucestershire Council snuck out their budget plans at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, as the sun set, and most people went home for the weekend.

Cllr Ruth Davis (Liberal Democrat leader) said: “I’m amazed. They couldn’t have timed this to go more under the radar if they were trying.

“We finally know what their plans are for the next four years. More cuts to the libraries. More cuts to the council tax support scheme. More cuts to transport services. They’ve cut the decisions made by Area Committees – where local Councillors who knew the communities made decisions. And they’re going to restructure the council so they can’t be held to account.”

Four years ago, South Gloucestershire changed to a more democratic ‘committee system’, which makes decisions in public, and forces Councillors to explain themselves to residents. The Tories tried to block it then, and are now pushing through changes. Merging the committees together will mean more decisions taken in secret, and fewer chances for the people to have their say.

Cllr Davis added: “It’s an attack on democracy. We always knew the Tories didn’t like facing the residents. Now this means anyone who wants to have a say will have fewer chances, and have to sit through longer meetings to do it. It’s a farce. We don’t need reorganisations and restructures, we need to hold the ruling Tories to account as they slash services and support for local people. The Tories in London have cut our funding further than we ever expected, and the Tories in South Gloucestershire are making the residents pay for it.”

   2 Comments

2 Responses

  1. Barry Briars says:

    Hi I recently joined the party and hope to contribute as much as possible. In the shireway area there are signs about a proposel doesnt say what. Looked on the web site and found out it concerned an extention to a cycle track along westerleigh road. Part of this by the bridge is in place now not accessable without getting of your bike. I believe the Metrobus is over budget and the local council tax will have to cover this. Yate will not have access to this scheme. So why is cycle track being proposed when there are more pressing things going on. We are going to get an area Mayor next year why was the public not consulted Bistol will have 3 and they will get the major benifts
    Sorry for the questions
    Barry

    • Claire Young says:

      Thanks for your message.

      The “Yate spur” cycle track has been on the agenda for a long time and when finished will be a very useful route for cyclists, linking Yate to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. It’s been developed in stages as funding has been secured and while it’s taken far longer than we’d have liked, it is in our view well worth finishing. It will benefit both commuters and leisure cyclists and at least some of the funding could only be used for cycling improvements (for example some of the earlier stages came from the “Cycle City” funding).

      One of the proposals in the West of England’s Joint Transport Study (JTS) is for a MetroBus extension to Yate. If you think this is important, do take a look at the consultation, which finishes tomorrow night (Monday 19th) and let the transport planners know your views. You can do that here:

      https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JTSTransportVision/consultationHome

      South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats did not support the Devolution Deal that includes the Metro Mayor but unfortunately the Conservatives now have a majority on the council and they did. We quite agree that the level of public consultation was totally inadequate for such a major change. Before the council made a decision in principle to go ahead, the council’s website said “It is your councillors who will be making the decision on the proposed deal in June” and that members of the public would get to have their say in the summer, after the decision had been taken! After Cllr Ruth Davis, Lib Dem Group Leader, submitted a written question to the Leader of the Council, a very brief comments page was added and the website wording changed to “It is your councillors who will be making the decision on the proposed deal in June and you can give them your views here: http://bit.ly/1Ylmb0f“.

      After the Conservatives decided to go ahead, there was then a consultation during the peak summer holiday season but unlike Bristol and BANES there were no consultation events here for members of the public to find out more. We did our best to make people aware of it but we know it was very low profile.

      You might like to check out our new website at http://www.southgloslibdems.org.uk/ – we are no longer updating this one. Do get in touch if you would like to discuss any issues further.

      Claire Young – [email protected]

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