Tories target vulnerable; we voted against
Medway Labour and your Luton & Wayfield Councillors voted against the Conservative budget at last night’s Council meeting.
We opposed this budget not because we reject every decision within it, in fact, Labour would also have kept Council tax frozen this year.Rather, forced to vote on the budget as a whole, a number of items contained within it made the budget impossible to support.
The Labour group, out of principle, could not support cuts affecting the elderly, the disabled and children, and we are proud to take this standpoint.Cllr Paul Godwin, Leader of the Labour Group said,
“The Tories always play the game of accusing us of not supporting each and every item in the budget, because of our decision to vote against it. By this rationale, the Conservatives’ history of voting against every Labour parliamentary budget means they oppose the NHS, investment in the police, the education system, the army… The list goes on.”
Challenged by Labour councillors that Medway residents have not been fairly consulted on this budget – as the public are in other parts of the country – the Conservatives cited the fact the public voted them back into leadership in May as evidence that their plans for the budget are supported.
We ask, where in the Conservative manifesto was:
- The closure of the Balfour Centre?
- The privatisation of three local care homes?
- Cuts to Sure Start funding?
- Cuts to Supporting People?
- Increased parking charges?
Delivering the bus station months late and millions over budget?Conversely, the Conservatives promised to protect front-line services, and accused Labour members of misleading the public on the threat to Sure Start.
The Medway Conservatives therefore both misled the public and broke its promises to them.
Yet, aware of presenting a budget of cuts and broken promises, Cllr Jarrett was keen to blame anyone but his own administration for their decisions – even willing to admit that his own government is causing pain by inflicting the cuts handed down to local government, which amount to a further £14.3m added to the £23.5m cut last year from Medway.
Cllr Vince Maple, Deputy Leader of the Labour group and Finance spokesperson says,
“The Conservatives also like to blame the last Labour government. This either shows a poor grasp of world affairs, or a wilful lie. The global economic crisis did not happen because Labour invested in police, nurses and teachers. It was caused by a sub-prime lending crisis originating in the US, which was able to hit the UK as hard as it did because of the deregulation of financial services by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, which the Conservatives were still arguing should go further until as late as 2007.”
“When Labour left power we were building our way out of recession. Now, residents of Medway, like others across the UK, are suffering due to the Government’s poor management of the economy.”
“The Tory Administration in Medway like their masters in Westminster go around making election promises they simply break, in their case in less than a year.”