Labour has slammed the Tories for voting to cut £18,500 a year from the parks maintenance budget to help pay for free parking.


At a recent meeting of the Place Scrutiny Committee, a paper was considered that proposed to cover the cost of free parking in parks by taking money out of the parks maintenance budget.


Cllr Tony Cox, Leader of the Council, claimed that there would be no reduction in service standards but could not explain how the savings had been found.


Cllr Lydia Hyde, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment, and Waste, said “It is appalling that the Conservatives are seeking to balance the books at the expense of parks maintenance.  The Tories had a choice of where to find the money and they chose to take it away from parks just weeks after they awarded themselves almost twice that in extra allowances.  Let us remember that this isn’t a one-off reduction, this is a permanent cut to the budget.  This simply isn’t good enough and shows yet again that their priorities are with themselves.”


Cllr Daniel Cowan, Leader of the Labour Group said “We broadly support the principle of free parking in our parks but it should not come at the expense of maintaining our parks to the highest standard.  Cllr Cox claims this won’t affect services yet this is the budget that is used to clean our parks, cut the grass, empty the bins in parks, remove graffiti, and more.  When asked if he had discussed the impact with the Parks Department, Cllr Cox implied he hadn’t spoken to parks at all.  Given the contempt with which he treated former parks staff, it is unsurprising he didn’t have the decency to ask current parks staff how this is going to affect them.“


Labour suggested the money be taken from elsewhere but in the end the committee voted in favour of reducing the parks budget carried by the votes of Conservative members.

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