Bedford Borough Council’s Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors have rejected Conservative proposals to support rural communities, low-income families and those at risk of homelessness.
In the midst of the Council’s challenging financial position, all parties agreed the authority’s budget for 2018/19 on the 7th February. Despite this, Conservative Leader Cllr Stephen Moon criticised the Mayor’s administration for failing to support a number of fully-costed proposals:
- £2m to purchase temporary accommodation units for individuals and families facing homelessness, reducing the Council’s reliance on private landlords costing the taxpayer over £200k this year.
- £250k a year to purchase average speed cameras in areas blighted by road safety issues.
- £188k a year to re-introduce a subsidy for sixth form pupils’ school transport which was removed last year. This would reduce the cost of an annual bus pass from £890 to £500.
- £40k to re-introduce and expand children’s summer play schemes at Putnoe, Kingsbrook, Goldington and Kempston which were cut in 2016.
Cllr Moon said:
‘We recognise the pressures facing the Council, particularly with adult social care demand, which is why we supported the Council’s budget. Nevertheless, it is disappointing the Liberal Democrat and Labour alliance refused our affordable proposals benefitting rural communities and low-income families.
‘Investing in emergency accommodation units would support families in urgent need of housing and save the taxpayer the cost of rents currently paid to private landlords.
‘Speeding and rat running is a huge concern in the rural areas. Allocating £250k a year for average speed cameras where there are clear safety concerns would unlock some of the 60 requests on the waiting list.
‘Subsidising sixth-form pupil transport would ease the huge financial burden on rural families who saw a 133% hike in the cost of a bus pass last year. Children and families in the urban area would also benefit from the reintroduction and expansion of play schemes to support working families.’