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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

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February 15, 2011 12:17 PM

East Sussex Conservatives cut short the most important debate of the year today as they voted through massive cuts in public services. The discussion on the budget, including amendments proposed by both the Liberal Democrat and Labour groups was just getting into full swing when Peacehaven Conservative John Livings moved a technical amendment calling for the debate to end and for the vote to be taken. This was supported by his Tory colleagues who then went on to reject the amendments and pass their proposed agenda of cuts.

Liberal Democrat Leader David Tutt branded the Tory move as one which "demonstrated contempt for the people of East Sussex". He explained that his group had put forward an alternative budget to that proposed by the Conservatives which would reduce expenditure on items such as: Publications; the hire of external venues; Consultants and property whilst managing to restore many of the Tory cuts to: Children's Services; the Youth Service and Footway Maintenance, but the controlling Conservative Group would not even allow this to be properly debated.

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Kathryn Field added "some of the Conservatives appeared embarrassed that they had not identified these ways of reducing expenditure which would have helped to protect many of the front line services valued by the people of East Sussex. The level of cuts being imposed will impact upon most households in the County and we have demonstrated that this level of pain is unnecessary."

The Liberal Democrat amendment was seconded by Cllr Paul Sparks who holds the shadow cabinet brief for Finance. He drew attention to the fact that "the Liberal Democrat proposals would have: retained the right for pensioners to use their bus passes from 09.00; provide money for a Welfare Benefit take-up campaign and allocate £1.5m for voluntary organisations who are seeking to help fill the gaps in service left by the public sector". Paul said "If the people who would have benefited from these changes hear of the way the Conservatives brushed them aside they would be justifiably outraged."

David Tutt