Cambridge City Labour Councillors have published their budget plans for the City for 2014/15, saying they offer a real chance for all city residents to share in the City’s success even though Cambridge is facing a further savage 14% cut in its 2015/16 funding from the Coalition government.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Labour Group which will be fighting for control of the City Council in May 2014, said: “We are determined that, if we win people’s support in the May election, all Cambridge residents will be given the chance to benefit from our city’s future prosperity. Everyone contributes to the growth of our great City so everyone also deserves a share. Despite the further savage cuts to the Council’s funding in 2015,we are also committed to protecting essential services that residents value like street cleaning and pest control.
“On the Liberal Democrat proposed Keep Cambridge Moving Fund, we think there is a role for the City Council to support what is essentially the County Council’s job – to shift incoming car traffic towards more sustainable transport such as buses and bicycles. However, we cannot see why this needs a huge and immediate one year splurge of £1,500,000 as the Liberal Democrats propose, when this is almost all of the City’s remaining scarce resources and there are many other priorities at such a difficult financial time for council services and for local people. “
“Our number one priority will be low and middle income young professionals and families who are suffering the full strain of rocketing rents and house prices despite often stagnant incomes, and to contribute to solutions to the problems they face. Our new Sharing Prosperity Fund will support cost-effective projects between now and 2017, working with employers and voluntary organisations, to help those residents who are struggling, tackle wage inequality and develop employment skills. “
Councillor George Owers, Labour’s Lead on Finance, said: “We have carefully scrutinised every department’s spending and are confident that measures such as increasing the Council’s income from investment and reducing some internal council costs in line with other similar sized councils are not only possible but long overdue. We want to see a far more imaginative use of resources, freeing up money for priorities we know residents want and need.”
“We have already pledged to reverse the Liberal Democrat plan to shut down pest control, and will ensure it remains a free service for residents. We will increase help for independent local shops and traders including a new role for a Chesterton Co-ordinator. We will lead a bid for Cambridge to be a Living Wage City with a new officer post to help external promotion as well as helping tackle the rising problem of unemployment in under 25’s through an expanded apprenticeship programme. We will also be funding a big expansion of the public realm enforcement team to help keep Cambridge free from litter and other anti-social actions. We will be unveiling many of these schemes in detail over the next week.”