The leader of the Conservative group at Monmouthshire County Council has blasted Labour's first budget saying it will have a 'terrible impact' on residents with cuts proposed to education and library services and hikes in charges for other services.
Cllr Richard John told the Chronicle, “This was the first major test for the Labour-run council – could they deliver a budget that protects frontline services, prioritises provision for our most vulnerable, while supporting Monmouthshire residents with the cost of living pressures.
The council ought to be guided by the principle of offering children and young people the best possible start in life, not seeing them as an easy target for budget cuts
Cllr Richard John
“What they have proposed will have a terrible impact on residents with a 6% rise in council tax, hikes of over £1million in fees and charges for key council services and £10million of cuts to frontline services.
“The proposal to cut over £4million from social care budgets is particularly irresponsible given the pressures in the NHS. We regularly see ambulances queued outside hospitals unable to transfer patients due to a lack of beds because there are hundreds of vulnerable people in hospital who are awaiting a package of care. These proposals risk adding further pressure on to NHS services.”
“This budget disproportionately impacts on our youngest residents with a doubling in the charges for school breakfast clubs, cuts to school transport, school balances projected to fall by over two thirds, a 50 per cent cut in funding for library books, a complete withdrawal of the subsidy for the Gwent Music service and a cut of almost three per cent to school budgets
“The council ought to be guided by the principle of offering children and young people the best possible start in life, not seeing them as an easy target for budget cuts.
“Monmouthshire residents deserve better than this. Over the coming weeks I strongly urge residents to have their say on these proposals because together we can urge the administration to reconsider these damaging plans.”