Cllr Imogen Shepherd-DuBey, Wokingham Borough Council Liberal Democrat Shadow member for Finance says “What we needed in last week’s budget was help to get our economy back on track when the lockdown and the furlough payments end. Public Finances are under a huge strain, but we are not being given the proper funding that our residents need.
"Covid 19 combined with Brexit has put our economy in one of the deepest holes in over 100 years. Liberal Democrats applaud the business rates relief for our hardest hit companies, particularly in the Hospitality and Leisure industries. The loss of the Business Rates income to Local Authorities will also be compensated, so it should not affect our Council services locally.
The extension of the Furlough Scheme until September is welcome and has been asked for by Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, but the extension may have to be until the end of the year or longer, because it will take some time for businesses to recover from this pandemic."
However there are a number of things that the Chancellor has missed.
- "Why was there nothing at all in the budget for our struggling Adult or Children’s Social Care services at this difficult time? These are our most vulnerable and the most severely affected by the Covid Pandemic, but there is no additional funding?”
- "Where is the support for public health services provided by local councils? We need to focus on preventative health and Mental Health as opposed to expensive, acute treatment when sufferers hit crisis point and have to use the NHS", says Cllr David Hare, Lib Dem Shadow Adult Social Care spokesperson.
- "Where is the funding to tackle our Climate Emergency? – Where people have had to alter their lifestyle, we want to be using that opportunity to improve renewable energy sources and to create employment in green jobs. Climate change is an emergency, but the government has set the priority of allocating £28 million for the Platinum Jubilee, and only £20 million on developing offshore wind farms.", says Cllr Sarah Kerr, Lib Dem Shadow Climate Emergency spokesperson.
- "There are no plans to deliver more social housing, or to tackle the cladding scandal which is destroying people's lives by making their homes uninsurable and unsaleable", says Cllr Prue Bray, Lib Dem Shadow Housing Spokesperson.
- "There is Nothing to help those excluded from the COVID support packages or any support to help struggling businesses make a recovery. Nearly 1 in 7 small businesses will go bankrupt if they do not receive more support by April. There will be some funding for ‘Restart Grants’, but it is not nearly enough. Lib Dems have been calling for more support for small businesses for months", says Cllr Clive Jones Lib Dem shadow Business spokesperson.