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Conservatives express sympathy for Labour-run city council's budget cuts dilemma

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

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Tory councillors have criticised the Government grant given to the Labour-led City of Lincoln Council this year.

Opposition members say the reduced income is to blame for proposed cuts to council services.

But Tory leader Hilton Spratt believes the current coalition should not be blamed for the cash shortfall. Instead he points the finger at the last Labour government.

The city council has to save £3 million by 2016-17 – despite saving £4.5 million since 2008. Savings of £1 million have already been identified for 2013-14.

Proposals to balance the £14 million revenue budget include charging people £25 a year for green wheelie bin collections and scrapping the urban rangers.

Less income from parking and other fees due to the recession are also being blamed but the Labour group insists cost-cutting is not due to over-spending in the past.

Cllr Spratt said his first reaction was shock and horror to "pretty deep cuts to some services I thought Labour would never ever cut".

He said: "I don't think it is the council being inefficient. They inherited our spending plan and have tried to make efficiencies. It's not a good settlement from the Government. It is an income issue.

"But if the last Labour Government had not borrowed £30-50 billion a year and paid its debts in the good times, there would be more money available to councils now.

"The problem is the cupboard is bare.

"The urban rangers are a good crime deterrent, great ambassadors for the city and there's the friendly aspect for them.

"Charging £25 a year for green bins is probably value for money but there's the principle of people saying they pay their council tax and what the hell do they get from it. It could also result in more fly-tipping."

"It's all come full circle now and Labour is having to face the same problems we did."

John Shipton, 63, who lives off Long Leys Road, Lincoln, has been involved in talks about the proposed cuts at meetings of the Lincoln Commons Advisory Committee and Carholme Community Forum.

"Once the rangers and the warden are gone, Lincoln will not see them again," said Mr Shipton.

"The police will not be policing the parks, open spaces, the West Common, South Common and the Cowpaddle as they are not a priority due to their budget cuts and will only get involved if serious crime is committed.

"We had trouble last year on West Common with drug addicts and alcoholics leaving needles and cans and bottles everywhere, and that's likely to return."

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5 comments

  • Pete67  |  February 20 2013, 9:24AM

    Pete_Lincoln - - - Mmm! PFI, I wonder who came up with that pathetic idea in the first place. I would suggest you check. p.s. it wasn't the last lot, they were just stupid enough to carry it on.

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  • tbinghamuk  |  February 19 2013, 10:38AM

    David Cameron on 23 jan 2013 Quote "So though this government has had to make some difficult decisions, we are making progress. We're paying down Britain's debts." David Cameron's policy is to increase Britain's debt by 60 per cent. To increase it more over five years than Labour did over 13 years. Back in January 2013, we learned the national debt had hit £1,111 billion and it's heading to £1,400 billion. (Source ONS)

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  • Pete_Lincoln  |  February 19 2013, 1:55AM

    "Hmm,,,, Nearly 3 years in power and still they blame everything on Labour" After 13 years of spending like there's no tomorrow - well tomorrow arrived and we have to pay it back - and that's before you look at the PFI debt we have to keep paying for another 25-30 years.

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  • NullSleep  |  February 18 2013, 7:18PM

    Why does the government seem to enjoy screwing over Lincolnshire so much? They can only cut so much before nothing is left.

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  • tbinghamuk  |  February 18 2013, 1:04PM

    But Tory leader Hilton Spratt believes the current coalition should not be blamed for the cash shortfall. Instead he points the finger at the last Labour government. Hmm,,,, Nearly 3 years in power and still they blame everything on Labour!

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