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Liberal Democrat Alternative Budget Voted Down by the Conservative Administration

February 24, 2022 11:39 AM
Originally published by Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat alternative budget was proposed at the meeting of the Full Council at Hertfordshire County Council on 22 February 2022. Key proposals to address the cost-of-living crisis and rising inequality including £4.2m for extending Free School Meals to cover holidays; a £15 subsidy for school uniform per child eligible for Free School Meals; and an additional £6m to increase the number of qualified school nurses by 40 over the next four years, were voted down by the Conservative administration.

The Liberal Democrats placed not just fairness and reducing inequality but also climate change and sustainability at the heart of their alternative budget proposals. To promote greater levels of active and sustainable travel £8m was included in the capital budget to restore previous budget cuts to the unclassified road maintenance programme. Other proposals included a further £4m to join up cycle routes boosted by £2m investment in off-grid solar powered lighting for road cycle and walking routes. As part of the Sustainability Strategy, a £5.5m programme of urban and highway tree planting was included in the package of measures to invest £36m over four years.

The Liberal Democrats continue to respond to requests from residents and the increasing awareness around the impact on behaviours of violence against women and girls by suggesting changes to Part-Night Lighting that allow councillors to extend the hours streets are lit thereby enabling women, girls and vulnerable residents, be they young or old, to enjoy the night-time economy and the freedom to be out late. These proposals were also rejected by the Conservatives.

Opposition Spokesperson, Liberal Democrat Councillor Sally Symington commented, 'The package of measures put forward by the Liberal Democrats is fully costed and signed off by officers. We should be doing the right thing and directing our resources toward the poorest and most vulnerable in our community making Hertfordshire a Fairer place to live and going further towards and with greater commitment to building a Greener and more Sustainable Hertfordshire.'