Liberal Democrats respond to Labour's Budget for Derby

March 2, 2017 7:37 PM
By Cllr Eric Ashburner

This council should strive to ensure services that people want are provided cost effectively, as has done in the past. This can be achieved by listening to residents and providing what they want rather than Labour's decorative foibles.

For example this council spent £1.2m on removing the picnic area, clock and toilets including the disabled toilet from the Spot and replacing them with paving slabs, ornamental rings and a wall. If they had properly consulted the public they should have found better use for the money, at this location, during, what they claim is a time of "austerity".

Where they do consult they ignore. Regarding taxi licensing, residents and the trade were consulted and were ignored when the Labour Councillors decided to transfer responsibilities from Councillors to officers and, as a result will substantially increase fees. When, at the last full council meeting, I asked, what would be the % increase in the fees their reply was "one penny a day per driver" indicating both their lack of mathematical comprehension and their willingness to make decisions without financial consideration They put more emphasis on reducing their own work load than on serving the people of Derby.

They fail to make decisions in a timely manner. The Assembly room replacement, which should have been paid for by insurance, has made little progress since March 2014 when the building burned down, almost three years ago.

As a further indication of the Labour parties lack of project management skills, it appears, from recent cabinet papers that the cost of the replacement Swimming Pool is expected to rise from some £25m to "at least" £30m.

By comparison the Council House refurbishment, led by the Lib Dems, was delivered within budget, bequeathing huge savings to the ongoing annual Council budget which we are discussing today. What was the Labour Parties contribution to the refurbishment? They first supported it then opposed it and finally boycotted the design process. Without this Labour boycott the price would no doubt have risen. And if they had blocked the refurbishment much of today's budget would have been spent repairing the old Council House and renting property around Derby as it was before the refurbishment.

Now Labour intends to move the Central Library into the Lib Dem renovated Council House at an estimated cost of £2.5m. With Labour managing the move no doubt costs will rise.

Looking forward I would suggest we consider providing two services that people want that could make the council some money.

  1. In my ward of Littleover we have problems with vehicles parking irresponsibly. The Council earns much money by fining motorists who use bus lanes. Can we also fine motorists who currently get away with parking on double yellow lines??
  2. There is a proposal to install many parking bays in Derby. Can we install electrical charging points at some of them? Air pollution in Derby is a problem. By using the electricity generated by the Longbridge power station, yet another project started and completed by the Lib Dems, we could encourage motorists to change from fossil fuels to electricity. Air pollution could be reduced and we could effectively sell the electricity we produce for more money than we get from feeding it back to the grid. Even if we just use the power from the grid to sell to drivers to charge their batteries we could make money and contribute to reducing air pollution.