Lib Dems put forward proposals for budget

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MEMBERS of the Liberal Democrat group on North Tyneside Council have put forward their proposals for an alternative budget for 2011-12.

The move is in response to borough Mayor Linda Arkley’s budget outlined earlier this month.

At a council meeting on Tuesday, Coun Graeme Brett highlighted the importance of spending money to improve Wallsend and proposed an allocation of £500,000 for the support and development of business in the town centre.

However, this was rejected.

He also put forward the party’s new ‘Save Our Services’ initiative, which would review all of the proposed cuts and look to reinstate and save the services which they consider to be essential to residents.

Coun Brett said: “The Liberal Democrat group believe that now is the time for all parties to work together for the benefit of the residents of North Tyneside.

“The Liberal Democrat budget will ensure financial stability is restored.

“This will allow the council to be more pro-active in future years.

“The Liberal Democrat delivery plan will see North Tyneside Council improve its services to residents and businesses in order that it can achieve the excellent services rating that residents deserve.”

The resolutions, which were supported by the majority of the council, were to remove the relationship manager post from the Playhouse Whitley Bay, charge North Tyneside Labour group £360 for administration of collection of contributions, all officers to pay their own membership of professional organisations, no pay award assumption for all employees and to reduce use of consultants across the council by five per cent.

Along with the £500,000 to support businesses in Wallsend, other proposals refused included introducing staff car parking charges at all council buildings, to cancel the Mouth of the Tyne Festival contribution.

The Labour group did not put forward an alternative budget to the meeting.

Speaking on her own budget proposals, Mayor Linda Arkley said: “This is a budget that recognises that our residents need our help as they experience their own challenges in the current economic climate.

“For the first time ever, the people in North Tyneside will have a zero council tax rise.

“I know that this will be welcomed by everyone in the borough.

“But this does not mean that we need to stand still or even worse go back to where we were.

“We will be investing in the issues and services that matter most to our residents.”

The council will reconvene on Thursday, March 3, to decide on the final budget.