Portsmouth Lib-Dem’s budget snub condemned by other parties

Cllr Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, sent out a message to groups asking if they would work together to come up with the best deal for Portsmouth
Cllr Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, sent out a message to groups asking if they would work together to come up with the best deal for Portsmouth

Former Ukip councillor joins city Conservatives

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THE Lib Dems have ruled out working with other political parties to come up with next year’s council budget.

Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of the council, sent out a message to groups asking if they would work together to come up with the best deal for the city.

At least £13m needs to be saved next year as the government continues to cut back on grants, meaning more services could be axed.

Ukip and Labour agreed to work on a cross-party budget – but the Lib Dems declined as they believes everyone else has ‘different priorities’.

The party has fallen out with the Tories over the way they suspended two parking zones, failed to hire a litter enforcement firm and approved a consultation over more homes in Milton.

The Lib Dems will instead come up with their own ideas and challenge what comes forward.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib-Dem group leader, wrote to Cllr Jones: ‘We do not believe that such proposals are in the overall good of the city.

‘The Liberal Democrats have a different budget approach to delivering value-for-money services, by working with the voluntary and business sectors.’

Cllr Jones blasted the Lib Dems for not thinking about the public’s best interests.

‘They are putting politics before the people of Portsmouth,’ she said.

‘In a city where there no one party has overall control, it is refusing to work on a cross party budget.

‘For the good of the city, Labour and Ukip have put politics aside to focus on this hugely-important item.’

Cllr Colin Galloway, Ukip leader, said it wasn’t working together for the sake of the people they represent.

‘There has never been a coalition,’ he said.

‘Cllr Vernon-Jackson obviously has his own agenda.’

Cllr Aiden Gray, deputy Labour leader, said: ‘We have had years of the Lib Dems controlling the administration and in that time the parties did not have any sort of consultation until a week before the budget was decided.

‘Now, we have an offer of a constructive discussion. 
 ‘They should be ashamed that they don’t want to get the best possible deal for Portsmouth.’

The budget is expected to be discussed at November’s meeting of the full council.

Work is now under way to determine where money can be saved.