MENDIP TORIES STEAMROLL BUDGET TALKS
By MendipLibDems | Monday, February 20, 2012, 17:26
Cllr Sue Cook (LD, Shepton West) was among opposition councillors calling for changes to the Conservative Budget at Mendip Full Council last week. Calls from the Liberal Democrats to work with local businesses to create apprenticeships, as well as policies targetted at revitalising our high streets were all proposals brushed aside by the Conservative Administration in what became a very heated meeting.
The amendments, presented by Cllr Richard Pinnock (Frome, Keyford) included measures to tackle youth unemployment and rural isolation as well as a scheme involving renewable energies to help the authority become more financially sustainable. Cllr Pinnock called on the administration to go further and have more vision in tackling Rural Isolation - something affecting many people across a very rural district. 'The problem with the Conservative's budget put forward this year, was that it just didn't go far enough. Mendip needs to work creatively to really make a difference - even in times of economic hardship.'
In an unexpected move, Conservative Councillors attempted to block all amendments made by the opposition and even ended the meeting for a short time to regroup. Leader of the Mendip Liberal Democrats, Cllr Claire Hudson (Frome, Park) said 'It wouldn't make any difference if we put forward a budget exactly the same as the Conservatives, they'd still vote it down, because they can't bring themselves to work with us - even in the interest of the district.' Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Hudson continued 'Our amendments were entirely constructive, and were based on concerns we've heard from residents - it's sad that the Tories clearly didn't see it that way.'