Fringe Box



Opposition Parties Respond to GBC Budget

Published on: 28 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 30 Jan, 2021

Deciding how taxpayers money should be spent, evaluating and weighing up competing demands, is always difficult at any level of government but current pressures caused by the pandemic are greater than anything since the Second World War.

So there is some reticence among political opponents to criticise too fiercely some of the shared power Lib Dem/ R4GV council at the moment and their approach, and recognition of the hard decisions it faces, as outlined in yesterday’s announcement following an Executive meeting.

See: GBC Executive Agrees Budget But Cites Future Challenges to be Faced

Chair of the Guildford Conservative Association Sallie Barker said: “Guildford Conservatives recognise the budgetary pressures due to the Coronavirus. It is fortunate that the good financial management of the former Conservative leadership ensured the availability of reserves to call upon during this unprecedented time.”

Guildford Labour Party also said that it recognised that the severity of the economic situation in Guildford was largely the result of events outside of the council’s control.

But a spokesperson said: “We note that there doesn’t seem to be any explicit new ideas on revenue-raising to make up the shortfall.  So inevitably Guildford residents are left with a combination of paying more council tax and receiving reduced services for their money.”

Brian Creese, chair of Guildford Labour added: “It is very disappointing that most of the council’s cuts will be to arts and culture, a sector that has not been well served. As the recent KPMG Report made clear, we are already lagging behind neighbouring borough in this area.

“Now is the time to look at more imaginative changes, getting rid of wasteful duplication and bureaucracy. We propose transforming Surrey into three unitary authorities to create a more streamlined and transparent democracy.”

Labour’s local campaigns coordinator, Sue Hackman, added: “I see the contentious Sustainable Movement Corridor, which plans for wider and busier roads through residential areas, as badly in need of its own consultation. It revives concerns about the Clay Lane Link Road. Contentious traffic developments need proper consultations.”

The Guildford Greenbelt Group was also invited to comment.

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