Last Thursday Telford and Wrekin's Labour Council increased council tax by 4.99%. Liberal Democrats did not support the council tax increase at last week's full council meeting.
Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr Bill Tomlinson explains their decision:
"The Labour administration put forward its budget for the next year on Thursday night. Lib Dem councillors abstained. I wanted to explain why we took the stance we did. Although the budget had a lot of very positive aspects, we felt that the proposed increase in council tax of nearly 5% is something we could not support at a time when Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit is already hitting residents financially."
"It is acknowledged that all local authorites have been pressured into this increase tax increase by lack of funding from our Conservative government. There is always upwards pressure on costs to help protect the most vulnerable (and we fully support the need to do so). It is about time a national formula was devised to achieve a fair national standard for spending on adults and childrens services, similar to the way Lib Dems in government brought in the Pupil Premium to allocate schools funding on the basis of need. We don't want to be like the USA, where only the wealthier areas, that can raise higher council tax, can afford good services."
A petition to save the Audley Court veterans' mental health centre has gathered more than 1,000 signatures in just one week.
The online petition, launched by Liberal Democrat Councillor Thomas Janke, calls on Telford and Wrekin Council, and local MPs, to do all they can to ensure the Newport centre is able to continue providing services to veterans, once its use as a coronavirus vaccination centre is completed.
Newport councillor and Iraq veteran Thomas Janke has renewed his call to save the Audley Court veterans' mental health centre.
Following the closure, in 2017, of respite services at the Newport centre, run by charity Combat Stress, the building is currently partially in use as a coronavirus vaccination centre, as well as providing some remote online counselling by the charity.
Telford and Wrekin Council has been urged by local Lib Dems to adopt car free zones outside schools. The motion, tabled at Thursday's full council meeting by Newport Councillor Thomas Janke, proposed adopting a "School Streets" scheme in common with many other local authorities, including Shropshire Council.
Former Lib Dem leader, Sir Vince Cable dropped into Telford and Wrekin, virtually, on Thursday night. The coalition government business secretary addressed local Liberal Democrats at their virtual AGM.
"We were delighted to secure such a high profile speaker as Sir Vince," said local party spokesman, Woodside Councillor Greg Spruce.
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Liberal Democrats have warned that the Government's planning proposals will "disempower" local authorities like Telford and Wrekin Council and allow developers to "run roughshod" over local communities' wishes.
A motion accepted at the Party's Autumn Conference, making it official party policy, lays bare the risks of the Government's proposals, which the Party argue amount to a Government "power grab" that will reduce investment in affordable housing urgently needed in Telford & Wrekin and elsewhere.
Woodside Councillor Greg Spruce has cautiously welcomed the news that council bosses are mobilising a new Community Action Team to Woodside in August and promising an increase in presence from Enforcement Officers to tackle fly tipping.
"I have been campaigning alongside Woodside residents for months for action on fly-tipping," said Cllr Spruce. "It is brilliant that the council top brass have started to take notice. This is a step in the right direction, but we really need action beyond August and a long term strategy."
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