Let’s Start Rebuilding The Library Service In Lincolnshire

 

At their meeting on Tuesday December 1st,   Lincolnshire County Council’s Executive Committee will be deciding on whether to appoint Greenwich Leisure to run the County Council Library service.

More than two long years ago the County Council set up a consultation, basically asking local people to keep just 15 libraries for the County Council to run and to close approximately 40 other libraries unless volunteers could be found to take them over.

Save Lincolnshire Libraries (SLL) – a group of Lincolnshire people who love books and appreciate the full value of public libraries came together.

Supported by thousands of people across the county they campaigned against the plan. Nonetheless, the County Council decided in December 2013 to carry out its plan.  Following this Simon Draper took the Council to Judicial Review, supported by SLL.

The High Court quashed the decision of the County Council Executive Committee declaring the consultation to be unlawful, and that the council would need to go back to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), a not for profit organisation, to properly consider their interest in running the service which the Council had failed to do first time round.

The County Council Executive then found it was necessary to go out to tender following the continuing interest from GLL. However, despite the High Court decision and the views of people in Lincolnshire, they decided not to go out to tender for the whole service but only for the 15 libraries they had first thought of. Following a second Judicial Review the Council was allowed to continue down this path. Tuesday’s decision is about whether to ask GLL to run this reduced service.

“From the beginning the objective of Save Lincolnshire Libraries has been to maintain libraries in Lincolnshire and to seek an improved library service. From the beginning it has been clear that the only objective of the Executive Committee was to run as small a library service as they could get away with legally, with the minimum of opening hours and service,” said John Hough, on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Council refused to consider properly GLL’s bid to run the whole library service and to maintain the staff. They rubbished GLL’s figures, said no one wanted libraries anymore and communities should be forced to run their libraries whether they wanted to or not. So far three libraries have been closed and there may be more in the future.”

“Nonetheless the decision to be made on Tuesday does represent a chance to start the rebuilding of the library service in Lincolnshire. We should never have had to spend over two and a half years to get to the point where an organisation committed and enthusiastic about libraries could finally have an opportunity to try and deliver the kind of library service that people in Lincolnshire want and deserve.”

“Save Lincolnshire Libraries will continue to campaign for and press for better library services in Lincolnshire. This is hopefully the beginning of a better future for libraries. It is a scandal that it has been at the cost of the jobs of many hardworking and devoted librarians which could have been saved if GLL had been allowed to run the whole service as they had originally offered to do.”

END  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For further information, please contact John Hough on            01507 602411 or 01507 358650 or john@southsomercotes.fsnet.co.uk

BBC Radio Lincolnshire – Libraries Challenge

BBC Radio Lincolnshire – Libraries Challenge
Thursday 22nd October 2015

William Wright (BBC Radio Lincolnshire Broadcaster)
Councillor John Hough (Leader of Labour Group)

Interview begins at 17:16pm
_______________________________________

Councillor John Hough is the Labour Leader of the County Council who has also been part of the ‘Save Lincolnshire’s Libraries Campaign’. Let me just put this point to you because we’ve got another quote here from Councillor Nick Worth, he says: “The campaign group should now have enough shame to admit that they got it wrong and they should apologise to the people of Lincolnshire for this needless waste of money”. What do you say to that?

Well the people who should apologies are Martin Hill and Nick Worth who in the election only two years ago talked about keeping and maintaining and investing in libraries and keeping comprehensive library services open right across Lincolnshire. What we’ve seen -as Martin Hill has just said- is they’ve closed three libraries so far and other libraries may close eventually – we don’t know, and they’ve turned down the opportunity to keep the libraries service which ‘Greenwich Leisure’ put forward following the first judicial review, so it is they who should apologise not the campaigners.

But, it’s up to them really – up to the Council about how they run things and how they run the Libraries services isn’t it? And all this legal bickering that’s been going on -as Martin Hill said- is a waste of tax-payers money.
Well, it is up to the Council to run the library service and other services, but it is also a duty to run in the best interest of the people of Lincolnshire. When ‘Greenwich Leisure’ came forward with the proposal to maintain the service at the price that the County Council was saying they were prepared to pay, they should have taken that seriously and they should have actually, you know, accepted that with open arms, because that would maintain the service, it would make the savings the Council wanted and we wouldn’t have gone through all of this. And I have to say, at a number of occasions from my understanding, Simon Draper and his lawyers actually approached Lincolnshire County Council before it ever got into the High Court both in the first judicial review and the second one and said “can we not talk about this and try and resolve this without going to court?”- Because people are well aware of the cuts and costs but the County Council insisted on going ahead and they were found to have acted illegally. Now, these people are saying they can go on acting illegally without challenged and that’s just completely unacceptable.

That was at the first…?

It was yes.

The first technicality and they should have taken into consideration the interest from ‘Greenwich Leisure’ and…

It was much more than a technicality, they had consulted on something that they had already decided. They decided -as is repeated by the judge in the second judicial review- they decided back in 2007 this was the route they were going to go down. They were never prepared to consult and listen to alternatives and then when a real alternative came forward, at a price they could have afforded, they just wouldn’t do anything about it, they were completely ideologically bound to carry on trying to force communities to take these things over when there were other opportunities to have a properly run -professionally run- libraries services, making the savings they wanted.

It’s cost a lot of money, what do you think –and I wonder if you would do the same if you were the Council Leader- what do you think of the Council now looking at the potentials to trying to claim some of this money back?

Well, of course they will – when you win a case in the High Court the costs are awarded, as costs were awarded against when they acted illegally the first time round. And that is perfectly normal in legal cases. I think, you know, we shouldn’t get this out of context – the Executive and State are a very powerful organisation with the County Council’s billion pound budget, and here is one person being brave enough to take them on over an issue that twenty three thousand people signed the petition for, hundreds of people marched through central Lincoln about it, communities right across the county feel very strongly about it.

But Martin Hill says that: The whole thing is working very nicely now thank you very much and that in fact we may even be left with more Libraries than we had before?

Well, there maybe shelves with books in a few places but a properly run and professional library service over forty-eight libraries will not exist. We’re down to twenty libraries and they’re now talking under the latest review that they may have to cut libraries again. It is a completely different situation from where we started, yet they could have kept the situation where it started and kept other community libraries if they wished too under the proposals of ‘Greenwich Leisure’ and they refused to consider them.

There is no apology or no thinking that maybe the legal actions shouldn’t have taken place?

Do you think you shouldn’t tap into legal decisions? The High Court decided they are going to act unlawfully, I think…

…Not in the second…

…Not in the second…

…I think people should have, of course they should have the right to challenge where they see fit. But now we know, do you think maybe we shouldn’t have done?

No. I mean I think you know there are real issues which I think are still unresolved despite the judgment about the way that they went about putting the Counties Library services out to tender. When in the second High Court judgment, what they were looking at was whether or not -as Greenwich Leisure expressed interest in running all the libraries services at the price the County Council could pay- whether or not the County Council should have taken that into account. I think they should have done and I think most people in Lincolnshire would say that if we could get better services at a reduced cost, the County Council should have seriously taken this and looked and actually accepted it, but they didn’t. I think it was perfectly right to challenge that in the court and I think this is a decision that well may be considered in other cases that we still haven’t fully resolved from this case.

Good to talk to you, thank you ever so much – Councillor John Hough, Labour Leader of the County Council.

Continue reading

News Release From Save Lincolnshire Libraries – Sad Day for Lincolnshire

 

“ Having broken their promise to keep libraries open with the closure of three libraries already confirmed, the leader of the county council Councillor Martin Hill and Councillor Nick worth are trying to blame everyone else for the fact that they acted unlawfully before the first judicial review,” said John Hough on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries.

“They should apologise for the mess they have made of the library service. Their failure to accept the offer from Greenwich Leisure to run the whole library service keeping libraries open across Lincolnshire as well as making the savings the County Council wanted seems to have passed them by.

The County Council needs to show it is achieving best value for the money it spends and it also has a duty to look after the public service it provides.

When Greenwich Leisure came along offering to keep services at a price the Council could afford, they should have snapped their hands off and gone with this.
Instead they were determined to ignore this sensible option and to force communities to try and save their libraries.

Many of the volunteers, who have come forward, have made the point that they felt it vital to keep the library open for their communities but they would far rather that paid professionals were running the service and taking responsibility.

Simon Draper, as a man in the street, should be congratulated for having the courage to stand up to the Executive of the County Council, a billion pound organisation.

While the British legal system has many faults, the fact that an individual can still take an all powerful executive to the High Court to expose the fact that the Council is acting unlawfully has to be welcomed. Long may that ability for the ordinary British Citizen to hold local government or national government to account continue.”

For further information please contact John Hough on 01507 358650 or 1507 602411.

Labour questions to Full Council 18th Sep 2015

 

  • Councillor Robert Parker to Richard Davies

My question is very similar to the one just been asked, the reason I have directed it to yourself rather than Councillor Jones is that you put down in some quite considerable detail in page 36 shall we say current quality and quantity of services by Serco whereas Councillor Jones doesn’t contact in his report anything which is why I am surprised of the division of responsibility; but the point is you write in quite some considerable detail and I thank you for that in the report to this council; it does try to explain in some detail the problems we have had. My question relates to the fact that the County Council is responsible for the delivering of services and we choose to outsource out services and in this case through Serco that we retain the responsibility in the delivery of those services. So, could you on behalf of the County Council offer some form of explanation or apology to the people of Lincolnshire and members of this council and also businesses for the less than satisfactory service since April.

Councillor Richard Davies

Thank you for the question, your right to highlight it. I did in my statement try to go into some detail which was possible in terms of the contract on where we are and more substantially where were going to be in the very near future. On a personal level I am disappointed how this has gone I think until we finish the restitution if you may call it that Councillor Jones has talked about it would be unwise at this stage to say much more than that.  However, I am very confident we are working hard with Serco and managing them very closely to make sure the service that we deliver is fit for purpose and is up to the level that we as members, the business community and schools and the people of Lincolnshire deserve.  I think in a joint VFM and Audit committee will go into more detail I would suggest before we start going into more detail and finger pointing we get to a situation where we are delivering services required and then we can look at what’s happened, what’s gone wrong and how we got ourselves into this situation.  

  • Councillor Kevin Clarke to Colin Davie

I welcome your explanation on Central Lincolnshire in today’s papers in particular job creation and the housing needs. Do I take it that the housing need will actually mean affordable housing for the people of Lincolnshire?

Councillor Colin Davie

Thank you Councillor Clarke for your question as you know we have worked very closely with City of Lincoln North Kesteven and WLDC in the development of the Central Lincs Plan that is going out to consultation on the 1st October. I am very clear that we need to plan for the next generation of workers and we do need quality affordable housing not just in Lincoln but the whole area to support the growing economy. So the answer to your question is absolutely I am fully supportive of the ambitions laid out in the plan and I hope the people of Lincolnshire support it.

  • Councillor John Hough to Councillor Martin Hill

There has already been some discussion about Serco, its clear the problems are serious with suppliers waiting months for payments, Schools not being able to pay their bills, staff not being paid, our own payroll going wrong and so on. In the run up to awarding this contract major concerns were raised by members during the decision making process about the track record of Serco and the wisdom of introducing a new IT system at the same time as starting a new contract.

Why were these concerns ignored?

Councillor Martin Hill

We did go through a full procurement process and when you have started that process you have to see it through properly or else the council would have been in breach of contractual obligations and would have got itself into legal difficulties. I think you overegg the issue. It’s not right to say people haven’t been paid, things aren’t perfect but they there is a laborious system in place.

I would advise against statements like ‘people haven’t been paid’ because my understanding is they are. They is a process in place if they haven’t been paid contractors can ensure are done. No one is saying the issue is safe, we are going to save £14M for the council over the period of this contract I am confident we will get to where we need to get to with it and it is none uncommon, back in 2000 when we employed a contractor in the first place the council agreed that and brought in a new IT system called SAP and there is a new system now that will save money when a new contactor comes in it is not unusual for them to bring a new IT system.

And my understanding is the new agresso system when it is finally working properly will be much better, easier and cheaper for staff. I make no apologies there are large savings for the councils and there will be benefits to the council. Since 2000 when we outsourced the back offices there has been a massive saving, originally it was a 20% saving we have added savings on top of that. So I think it was the right decision. When we outsourced in the first place there was no disagreement across the council from any political party and I think that was the right decision, we saved money, it was the right decision then and it was the right decision to put it out to tender. We had no choice because it was 15 years and I don’t think the thought of bringing it all in house again is a practical or sensible proposition certainly in the financial climate we now find ourselves.

  • Councillor Sarah Dodds for Councillor Patricia Bradwell

In light on the emphases on developing skills and education for Lincolnshire’s children as outlined in the greater Lincolnshire devolution document will you commit the authority 100% to ensure Mablethorpe continue to endure secondary provision with the potential closure of the Tennyson site and that the town and its future generations are not left behind in the opportunities that lie ahead for others.

Councillor Patricia Bradwell

As you know Sarah we are in the middle of a consultation period at the moment and as that hasn’t finished I can’t make any comment about what’s going to happen to Mablethorpe Tennyson, I think you’re well aware of that. As regards to skills across the county I mean we are working the LEP has chosen the skills we need to develop. The employment and skills board are working with all the collages to try and get skills for people to get jobs so that is a real high priority for  this county council and for the businesses as well and that’s why our bid for devolution picks that up. Because we see that as a way forward if we have more businesses and businesses want to grow then they need people to work and those people need to be trained so that’s why it’s in the bid but with regards to Mablethorpe we need to see how the consultation goes what it says at the end of it and obviously the county council will make a decision. 

  • Councillor Rosie Kirk for Councillor Hill

American businessman and author Paul Drucker said ‘the major incentive to productivity and efficiency are social and moral rather than financial’ in Serco’s quest for productivity and efficiency had they been social and moral or has it been all about profit?

Councillor Martin Hill

In principal there are lots of people who have economic theories, the basic thing from the Conservative side we are quite clear that the best thing councils and government can do is set the framework and get out the way of businesses and let them get on with it and not tax everybody because the biggest drag on economic growth is governments taxing businesses so that they are prevented from growing. I Don’t      Agree with you. As I said earlier there was a clear contract with Serco and it was quite clear what the arrangements were going to be and I think there is a commitment and I have to say that Serco have put substantial resources in to addressing this problem and so I don’t agree with you, it wasn’t done deliberately and the fact that there have been some issues mainly as have been referenced before due to the change of the major IT system so I don’t basically agree with the premise that Serco are doing anything. The problems aren’t due to a deliberate act by Serco its just one of those things that there are issues that need resolving and as I said before I am confident they will be resolved but we will keep the pressure up on the company to make sure they do so.

  • Councillor Phil Dilks for Councillor Robinson

Could you please explain why you wrote to the Mayor of Market Deeping saying you were strongly opposed to the downgrading of Deepings library to tier 3 statuses, your words. On at least two occasions as a member of the Executive you voted for precisely for that downgrade.

Councillor Peter Robinson

Not a particularly pleasant question, I think I did my best to keep the library facility at Market Deeping as good as it could be. I must admit I was not successful however I am pleased to know from what Councillor Worth has said today that we are moving forward now and hopefully in the autumn we should get a clearer idea of the way forward.  

Councillor Robin Renshaw for Councillor Sue Woolley

In support of the successful recycle cycle project which is located in my division and which I supported from my big society fund,  would the portfolio holder for health and wellbeing see the potential for implementing cycle recycling to other towns in Lincolnshire and use lighter spin offs from cycling to improve poor air quality and help life issues.

Councillor Sue Woolley

Chairman you asked us to be quick and I will say yes I fully support them.

Resolution For County Council 18th Sep 2015

 

We, as people of Lincolnshire, cannot ignore the plight of refugees across Europe and the Middle East or leave the situation for others to deal with.

The generous offers of help from individuals, community organisations, churches and others in Lincolnshire show the strength of the desire in our communities to help provide accommodation, food and places of safety for refugees who have been displaced by war.

None of this ignores the fact that we still have our own challenges of homelessness, lack of affordable housing, poverty and many other issues here at home which we must continue to tackle.

However Lincolnshire with its population of 731,500 people has the capacity and strength to not only deal with its own problems but also to play its part in providing a safe haven for refugees in this emergency.

The County Council has a long experience of looking after unaccompanied children who are asylum seekers. Last week we had 60 such children and young people being looked after or otherwise supported by our Leaving Care Service.

We can build on this experience and, with the work done by the community, we are in a strong position to provide further help now that it is needed. While cost is an issue and clearly financial help will be needed, we cannot just sit and wait.

Help is needed now and the County Council must provide a welcome for refugees and leadership in coordinating such help across the county.

It is proposed that:

The Council recommends that the executive on behalf of all councillors says publically and to Government that we as a Council welcome refugees to Lincolnshire alongside the wider Lincolnshire community and will play our part in providing a safe haven for them.

Moved by Councillor John Hough

Seconded by Councillor Robert Parker.

Resolution On Children’s Centres For County Council 18th Sep 2015

 

Children’s Centres play a crucial role in child protection in Lincolnshire.

Over 95% of young children in the age range 0-5 are now registered at Children’s Centres across the county. This is a remarkable achievement; in the early years of Sure Start centres locally it was a struggle to get over 50% of children registered.

The services offered at Children’s Centres are wide ranging and provide support, education and encouragement for young children and their families. They enable early help and support to be provided for children at risk and vulnerable families. Positive links with other organisations, particularly the health service, have ensured a joined up approach to child development. In addition their work ensures all children start school with an equal chance of fulfilling their potential.

However continuing cuts in government support for local government may mean that their future is at risk.

It is proposed that:  

this Council thanks all those involved in this work, the staff at Children’s Centres, the health and social workers, the locality teams and everyone else involved for their dedication in ensuring every child gets the an equal chance in their early years.

Furthermore, this Council believes in the importance of Children’s Centres and the crucial work they do in both protecting children and enhancing their development and therefore recommends that the Executive continue to support, fund and maintain the Children’s Centres across the county.

Moved by Councillor Sarah Dodds

Seconded by Councillor John Hough

County council refuses to reconsider its plans to get rid of staff from libraries

 

On Tuesday 21st July the High Court in London will once again hear the case against Lincolnshire County Council’s plans to get rid of staff from most of its libraries.

Following the High Court’s judgement a year ago to quash Lincolnshire County Council’s decision to withdraw staff from the majority of its libraries and either close them or hand them over to volunteers, the County Council is back in court.

This is due to its failure to make any changes to its political plans to force communities to take on the County Council’s statutory responsibility to run a comprehensive library service across Lincolnshire.

Speaking on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries, John Hough said “We appeal to the County Council even at this late hour to discuss with Simon Draper and Save Lincolnshire Libraries a way out of legal proceedings that are costly and unnecessary.”

“Despite repeated attempts to get the Council to come to the table to discuss the issues they have refused to engage with the people of Lincolnshire on finding a way forward for the library service that offers an alternative to closure or to withdrawing valued and experienced staff from the existing libraries.”

“No one chooses to take court action but Tuesday’s hearing is a direct result of Lincolnshire County Council’s refusal to properly consider that there are alternatives to its dogmatic insistence on seeking volunteers to run 30 or so libraries.”

Note to editors

Simon and Timber Draper together with members of Save Lincolnshire Libraries will be travelling by train to London to attend the High Court Hearing on Tuesday 21st July.

For further information please contact John Hough on 01507 358650, or 01507 602411 or Julie Harrison on 01522 822366 or 07940 534863.

Amendment to be moved by Councillor J D Hough

 

This year’s County Council budget is being presented at a time when Lincolnshire is still suffering from the austerity economics of the Coalition Government with large falls in living standards and cuts in public services.It is not just the County Council in crisis; it’s the NHS locally under huge financial pressure, the police without funds to fully protect the public and the District Councils cutting back, all at the same time.

We know we cannot put everything right in one year but we believe we have to start the process and our amendment goes some way towards that.

What we are proposing to do first of all is to protect the public. In addition to maintaining our support for Lincolnshire police and their community safety role, we will ensure that there is no reduction in fire safety by maintaining the number of firefighters that go to a fire and keeping open fire stations like Lincoln North.

Secondly we will protect essential services for those who need help, and protect vulnerable people in our community. We will keep our professionally run library service, maintain the Citizens Advice Service in Children’s Centres, set aside money to support housing services for vulnerable people, give a boost to funding for adult care and start to address the poverty wages so many of our people try to live on.

Thirdly we will protect the charities and voluntary groups who do so much essential work in our communities.  In the last five years many of these have seen funding withdrawn by the council while the demand for their services has increased hugely due to the run down in public services from the council.

We will therefore provide support for Homestart, ensure that the YMCA receives sufficient funding to maintain its housing support services and set up a new fund to provide help when charities and voluntary groups need it.

 

Cllr John Hough, on behalf of The Labour Group therefore to move this amendment:

It is proposed that the following amendments are made to the circulated ‘Council Budget 2015/16’ report:

Revenue

Restore CAB work in Children’s Centres (Page 65 line 3) £158k

Restore Preventing and Tackling Fire and Emergencies and Planning and Responding to Emergencies (Page 91 lines 5 and 6) £551k

Restore Community Safety initiatives relating to PCSOs (Page 91 line 7) £300k

Increase Libraries spending to restore it to December 2013 level (Page 82 line 6) £800k

Restore Homestart funding from Children’s Services budget £436k

Introduce Living Wage for all County Council staff –Living Wage £900k

YMCA cuts in budget – housing support services in Lincoln £500k

Introduce spending of £1m to meet unexpected cost pressures in Adult Social Care services and place this in an earmarked reserve  £1million

Capital spending

4 way pedestrian crossing at Bridge End Road/Springfield Road junction in  Grantham £300k

Commuter Park and Ride Lincoln preparatory work £1m

Communities Initiatives Fund £5m

Funding

Capital spending of £6.3m has been funded from the £15m capital contingency budget for next year leaving a balance of £8.7m.

The revenue budget proposals total £4.645m and have been funded from the additional council tax and business rate income of £ 10.413m available next year.

This would increase the call on reserves in the 2015/16 budget by £4.645m to £26.816m.

The Director of Finance & Public Protection has confirmed that these proposals are compliant with the existing Financial Strategy of the Council and represent a balanced budget for 2015/16. Some proposals have ongoing cost implications beyond next year which will need to be considered as part of future budget cycles.

Seconded by Councillor R B Parker

Motion for County Council 20.2.2015

 

At the Audit Committee on 26th January 2015 an internal audit report “Organisational Learning  – Libraries Project” was presented.

It stated that,

“We have approached this review with a strong emphasis on governance – the aim being to ensure the Council continues to run well in times of significant change and challenge.” 

Amongst other things it looked at “Effective Scrutiny/Decision Making” and it was critical of the way scrutiny had or had not been carried out. That scrutiny role was the responsibility of the Communities and Public Safety Scrutiny Committee.

It said that,

“We found little effective scrutiny contribution to the Library Needs Assessment preferred delivery model and Executive decision making. Earlier scrutiny meetings had acted more as a sounding board for library service concepts.”

In addition it was critical of the length of papers and the time allowed for consideration, for example,

“Sheffield Hallam University’s consultation outcome report, 205 pages (tabled – 15 minutes prior to the (scrutiny) meeting).”

On 27th January 2015, the day after the Audit Committee meeting, another meeting of the Communities and Public Safety Scrutiny Committee was held to scrutinise the re-launched library proposals. The report was even longer than the Sheffield Hallam Universities report and while some questions were asked, members and officers struggled to answer some of them and questioning was cut short.

The alternative proposal from Greenwich Leisure Limited was dismissed largely on financial grounds. However the members of the scrutiny committee had no sight of the financial information on which they were asked to make a decision, and neither was any financial report presented.

Overall it was not an example of effective scrutiny – just 24 hours after the Audit Committee.

This example of bad scrutiny is not an isolated one in this council. Too much of our scrutiny practice is superficial, lacking in depth and ineffective.

The Council’s own guidance lists the following principles of good scrutiny:

  1. Providing a healthy challenge
  2. Giving voice to public concern
  3. Supporting improvement in services
  4. Providing an independent review.

Good scrutiny should allow councillors the opportunity to have an in depth look at both what the Council does and what it is proposing to do with the aim of improving the services the council currently provides and what it might provide in the future.

As the audit report emphasises we need to improve how we do scrutiny in the future. As a learning organisation it would be helpful to have fresh eyes looking at our scrutiny practices.

It is therefore proposed this Council agrees that:

  1. A Local Government Association (LGA) peer review of our existing scrutiny arrangements should be carried out to tell us how we can do things better from a member point of view.
  1. In addition The Centre for Public Scrutiny to be asked to review our scrutiny processes and make recommendations about how we can make our scrutiny more effective and therefore more useful to the Council as a whole and ultimately to the public we serve.

 

Moved by Councillor Dilks

Seconded by Councillor Dodds

Labour Proposes new funding for charities

 

A new fund to support charities and voluntary groups in Lincolnshire, under pressure from cuts to their funding and increasing demand for their services, is planned under Labour’s budget proposals for Lincolnshire County Council.

On Friday 20th February the County Council will be considering its budget for 2015-2016.

The Labour Group will be putting forward an alternative budget which will include:

  1. Protection for Police and Fire Services
  2. Protection for essential services and vulnerable people
  3. Protection for charities and voluntary groups.

Commenting on the proposals Councillor John Hough, leader of the Labour Group at the County Council said, “We are facing difficult times with austerity forecast far into the future under the Coalition Government’s failed economic policies.

What we are proposing in our budget is to protect our society from some of the worst of the Tory led cuts. The police are already under pressure from lack of funding. It would be quite wrong for the County Council to withdraw more funds from them. We will protect their funding along with that for the Fire and Rescue Service.

We are determined to try and prevent Tory attacks on vulnerable people in our society. We will be putting in funding to maintain the CAB in children’s centres, additional funding for the housing support services and for maintaining our library service.

Charities and voluntary groups have been at the sharp end of the Coalition Government’s policies. They have been hit twice. There have been large cuts in funding from the Government and the council while at the same time there has been a huge rise in demand for their services as public spending is reduced.

Our budget will both protect some charities from the worst of the proposed cuts and will set up a new fund to enable charities and voluntary groups in Lincolnshire to apply for new funding when they need it.”

ENDS

For further information please contact John Hough on 01507 358650 (home), 01507 602411 (work) or his PA Gemma Hawkes on 01522 5520667