Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Lib Dems welcome Tory U-Turn on West Sussex Youth Services

Catherine Bearder MEP with Councillors' Hazel Thorpe and Trevor England

West Sussex Tories have done a spectacular u-turn on West Sussex Youth Services spreading the cuts over four years rather than three years as required by their budget.  Cabinet Member for Children and Families Peter Evans issued a press statement yesterday (Monday) with the announcement, claiming this was not a change of direction.
 
But a change of direction is exactly what has happened.  In the budget debate earlier this year the Tories categorically rejected the Liberal Democrat amendment to spread all cuts over four years instead of three.

Morwen Millson, Leader of West Sussex Lib Dem Group said:

“The Liberal Democrats are delighted that the Cabinet Member for Young People’s Services has admitted that changes in the Youth Service may be implemented over four years and not three as agreed in the budget that the Tories forced through just a few months ago. Taking so much money out of the service over three years required enormous and extremely rapid change in the Youth Service and risked services in many areas disappearing completely. We remain concerned about the ability of the Voluntary Sector to fill the gaps in the long term, but there is much more chance of this succeeding if more time is allowed before the money is withdrawn.”

She added, “Back in February when the Council debated the budget for the current financial year, Liberal Democrats argued that savings should be made over four years. The Tories were adamant that they could be delivered in three, yet now the Cabinet Member admits that making the changes ‘does take time’. I hate to say that we told them so, but we did!

“We also argued that, as the Council had received extra funding for capital projects from the Government, the Council should spend the money on ‘new projects that would help deliver a boost to the local economy’. The Tories refused to listen and put the money in the bank.  At last month’s Council meeting a Conservative proposal to ‘bring forward as a matter of urgency proposals for key investments in infrastructure and other developments which would bring a significant, long-term benefit to the West Sussex local economy’ was agreed unanimously.

“The Liberal Democrats are happy to welcome the adoption of our good ideas for the benefit of the people of West Sussex.”

Morwen can be contacted on 01403 260407 or 07860 117426 or by emailing morwen.millson@westsussex.gov.uk

The next meeting of the Children’s & Young Peoples select committee will be this week on Friday 4th November and start at 10.30am and can be viewed by following the link to the webcast pages from www.westsussex.gov.uk