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Responding to Sutton Lib Dem budget proposals discussed by the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee tonight, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers said:
“Labour argued for a Council Tax increase in the 2014 local elections to help protect some services, whilst Lib Dem leaders were extolling 6 years of a freeze. I’m pleased they are now belatedly recognising the need to protect services, having again misled voters before an election. This rise will be mess noticed by the public due to the reduction of the GLA Precept which was secured by the Labour Group.
“Despite the proposed Council Tax hike, local people will still be asked to pay additionally for green garden waste and other services. So it is important to recognise that change of this kind will have an impact on hardworking families in Sutton. That’s why Labour is committed to securing an economic recovery for everybody, moving away from the Tory and Lib Dem fixation on cutbacks.
“Lib Dem Councillors have flagged up that local taxpayers will face £1.8M costs as a result of the Care Act, 2014. Sutton admits they are one of the biggest losers, yet it was Paul Burstow who laid the foundations of this legislation as Care Minister, but failed to secure adequate resources to implement it.
“Council Tax is to go up by 1.99% and Council House Rent by 2.2% which seems unfair. Council Rent should not go up any more than Council Tax.
“I welcome the move to put aside resources to meet the London Living Wage which has come to fruition due to the efforts of former Labour Councillor John Keys, who raised the matter and was assisted by the Tory opposition. Changes to terms and conditions of a shrinking workforce do remain a concern and I hope that the Lib Dem Council will negotiate with trade unions in good faith.
“The Tory Leader, Tim Crowley, was confused in the meeting about whether they should vote against and then in a few weeks vote in favour of the proposals. Mr Crowley is obviously spending too much time observing Lib Dem politics. In any event the Tories abstained, but will doubtlessly follow along meekly in a few weeks time when the budget goes to Full Council.
“I’m continually puzzled by both Lib Dem and Tory Councillors complaining about the Coalition Government’s attitude to Local Government. These are the very parties they back nationally, so severe cutbacks are precisely what they should expect. They are in it together, but I doubt Sutton residents will be so likeminded in the forthcoming election.”

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