Council plans cuts

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A WETHERBY councillor has hit out at Leeds City Council over planned budget cuts.

Councillor Alan Lamb (Cons, Wetherby) has spoken out ahead of next week’s annual budget meeting in which the council will make proposed cuts of £55.4 million over the next financial year.

This year, the council says it will receive £26.4 million less from the government in public spending.

Coun Alan Lamb told the Wetherby News he believed the current Labour-led council were not doing enough to make “efficiency savings”.

He said: “I think there are areas the council are still and have wasted money on.

“For example they have spent £1.8 million on a new computer system, which we wouldn’t do.

“They have also spent a lot on excessive transport costs and have paid trade union officials too, which I am against.”

“I think the Council needs to adopt a more businesslike approach to the budget and to find savings now.”

Coun Lamb said front-line services across the Wetherby district and Leeds needed to be protected.

He said: “People in Wetherby pay disproportionately more Council Tax in than they get out.

“I am keen for this to change.

“There are pockets of deprivation across the Wetherby district, and it is a misconception that everybody is comfortably off.

“We need to do more to protect the young and elderly in this area, and make sure that efficiency savings are being made by the Council.

“More money needs to be saved for regenerating town centres such as Wetherby and not wasted.”

The budget, which is to be recommended for approval at next week’s executive board meeting will be discussed by Full Council at its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday February 22.

Leader of the council, Keith Wakefield, (Labour, Kippax and Methley) said that while decisions are getting “tougher and tougher” he believes that “innovation, enterprise and creativity” will be at the heart of the budget.

He said: “Everyone will be aware that last year’s financial challenge, in terms of savings we needed to make, was unprecedented in its severity.

“We had to make lots of exceptionally difficult and painful decisions.

“I’m afraid the bad news is that the challenge facing us is only going to get tougher in the years to come.

“We will keep having to make cuts to an annual budget getting ever smaller.

“This year we have again focused on protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities, and doing what we can to limit both price rises and cuts to frontline services.

“We are committed to doing all we can to protect these services but our challenge remains a significant one.”

Coun Wakefield added that key properties included creating jobs, apprenticeships and economic growth through local investment.

What do you think about the council’s budget cuts?

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