February 20, 2008 12:00 AM

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats presented on Tuesday their alternative County Council budget, which would have injected £5 million into transforming the quality of vital council services over two years. Although it offered more services and lower taxes, the proposal was shot down by the Tories on the Council.

For both years, the increase in Council Tax would be 4.8%, compared with the 5% figure agreed by the Conservative Council.

The Liberal Democrats' spending plans include supporting voluntary organisations, tackling climate change, services for the elderly and young people, and improvements to community transport and road maintenance.

Councillor David Jenkins, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, commented:

"The people of Cambridgeshire deserve to get improved services at the lowest possible level of Council Tax and that is what the Liberal Democrat budget achieves. We have shown that it is possible to manage resources sensibly and effectively, but also to have real ambition and determination to improve the quality of services.

"The Conservatives could do this, but they haven't got the imagination and they haven't the guts. Their budget obfuscates as it proposes cuts in services and high Council Tax increases."

Providing high-quality services at the lowest cost possible

These investments don't require any cuts in existing services. Better resource management in the Lib Dem alternative budget has produced an additional £5 million that can be invested to improve local services, whilst still allowing for a lower council tax increase than the Conservatives.

Councillor Nichola Harrison, Lib Dem Spokes for Resources, said:

"The decision on the 4.8% increase reflects our concern that the Council Tax bears particularly heavily on people with lower incomes and our intention to get out of the straight jacket resulting from continual capping. The Conservatives claim it's difficult to lead the Council. If it's too difficult, step aside, we'll be happy to do it."


Notes to Editors

1. The Liberal Democrat budget amendment was presented and debated today 19 February 2008.

2. Councillor David Jenkins is available for comments at 07739 758 859

3. Councillor Nichola Harrison is available for comments at 07788 701 901

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