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Petition forces postponement of vote on Lichfield District Council cuts

Plans to cut a number of community services have been put on hold after an 11th hour petition was delivered to Lichfield District Council.

Councillors were due to discuss the Fit for the Future proposals at a meeting last night (July 9).

However, a petition signed by a number of residents has forced the local authority to delay a vote on a package of cuts designed to help fill a £1.7million hole in its budget.

The campaign to save community services was launched by Labour opposition group leader Steve Norman, who said the strength of public feeling was evident.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

“My plan was to show how valued these services are by demonstrating public support for community services,” he said.

“I drew up the petition but it was in response to community groups contacting me. In fact they asked for the sheets and took it upon themselves to collect signatures from their users and their supporters.

“What I had forgotten was that the Cabinet has to consider a petition of over 1,000 signatures just days before the council meeting petitions papers were coming back to me in small amounts with only 553 signatures on Monday night – my deadline.

“However yesterday morning various people dropped off a total of 200 signatures and as late as 5.35pm – with just 25 minutes to go – I was given a further 900 or so thus triggering the decision by the Leader of Council to defer the decision to cut the services.”

The petition means the Cabinet will now need to reconvene to discuss the issues raised.

But Cllr Norman has warned that cuts will need to be made in order to balance the books.

However, he believes greater consultation is required to ensure the ramifications of any decisions are fully understood.

“District councils are suffering more than other councils from government cuts and this is not likely to improve before 2020,” he said.

“We have to make savings of another £2 million before 2015 and last night the Labour Group offered to work with the Conservatives in achieving this – but from the bottom up – not the top down.

“Scrutiny will be meaningless if it happens after services are cut and staff made redundant.

“We have to engage with our electors and ask them what their priorities are, what they value and what they can do to reduce costs.

“The council needs to start from scratch in this new climate for local government.

“We have to make these savings and that is our responsibility – but it needs to be done with our residents – not to them.”

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2 Comments

  1. Some Bloke

    10th July, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    This is quite a thing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this happening in Lichfield before. From what I understand, there are huge changes facing local government, and little Lichfield District has to face them. I really hope everyone can have their say. Cllr Steve Norman is right. There needs to be excellent consultation and communication.

    Also, the Labour group, 10 members, seem to be punching well above their weight on this.

    Thank to Lichfield Live for the reporting. This website makes difficult and complex information as accessible as it can be. You have my gratitude for that, especially as Lichfield Live is a free and independent service.

  2. Rob

    12th July, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    ““We have to engage with our electors and ask them what their priorities are”
    As if you didn’t know, their priorities will be whatever detracts from their subsidised lifestyles, and sod everybody else.
    Can anyone explain what has been achieved here, besides delay?