Diane Coughlan proved Walsall’s most vulnerable are paying for the cuts in lost services.
A proposal to tackle the£1 million short fall in social services funding has been rejected by Walsall’s council’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat leadership; despite it costing only five pence per day for the average household in the borough.
Labour councillors, who proposed the 5p levy through increasing council tax by 1.99%, said they were shocked and saddened at the bitter response from the ruling council coalition even as they admitted they had no answer to the Social Services’ budget crisis.
Labour Group leader, Tim Oliver, proposed the 5p charge as councillors discussed cuts of £21 million in the council’s budget for 2013-14.
“The response by the Tories and Liberal Democrats to our proposal for the equivalent of a 5p levy to help tackle the shortfall in social services budget was an appalling piece of self-serving hypocrisy. Last year, the Tories and Lib Dems proposed and voted through a council tax increase, but there were no elections last year. This year, with elections in May, they oppo
sed our proposal to help safeguard the old, the disabled and the infirm.
“We know such a move maybe be unpopular with some voters but we believe the vast majority would happily pay.
“We were saddened too that, predictably, the independents again opposed Labour and supported the Tories and Liberal Democrats. In truth, they have helped hit all those in their own wards who rely on these life saving services.”
During the debate, Labour’s Cllr Diane Coughlan, revealed figures supplied by the council’s own officers showed Walsall had cut over £36.4 million from social services since 2010. “Social care has born the brunt of the Tories and Liberal Democrats’ cuts of over £97 million in the council’s budget since 2010, 37% of the total cuts. In short, the old and the infirm have been paying for the Government’s policies and our 5p levy would have helped shield them.
“The council has boasted that that it’s not closing libraries, museums, etc, but in the background – hidden from public view – huge cuts are hitting the most vulnerable. People don’t see it until it becomes their mother who can’t get home help, their brothers and sister who can’t get disabled adaptations for their homes or their children who don’t get the support they deserve
“It’s a sad day for Walsall when the parties running the council put short term political gain before our old, disabled and vulnerable.”