Lib Dems push for '˜best deal for Berwick'

Local Lib Dem county councillors have pledged to press the ruling Labour administration for the best deal for Berwick.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 23 February, 2016, 19:42
County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

The pledge was made by Gavin Jones (Berwick North), Jim Smith (Berwick East), Isabel Hunter (Berwick West with Ord) and Dougie Watkin (Norham and Islandshires) ahead of Wednesday’s budget meeting at County Hall.

They said: “The opening statement presents the reality of this budget in yet another year of Government cuts to Northumberland County Council’s budget: ‘Northumberland residents will be paying more but receiving less in services’.

“On top of these Government cuts, the Government has slashed another 2% off the social care budget, forcing the Council to impose a 2% increase on residents to protect services delivered to the most vulnerable and the elderly who need help to stay in their homes.

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“As Liberal Democrats, one of our key policies is education and supporting access to education. We campaigned against the imposition of a post-16 charge for school transport and we cannot support a budget that withdraws support for Home to School transport. Those of us in the north of the county also wish to protect rural bus services.

“However, we recognise the challenge the Government has imposed on the administration and it is not our intention to block this budget.

“Although the Berwick Conservatives have taken a negative position on the administration’s proposed downsizing of County Hall, we see this as a Morpeth issue; as your councillors in Berwick, our focus is on campaigning for the best deal for Berwick, and we will do all that we can to press the administration to bring more employment back to Berwick. This is really important to the economic security of our town at this moment, particularly in light of the Jus Rol announcement.”