A Conservative councillor has accused Labour of seeking headlines rather than providing a realistic budget proposal after they called for £1million to be allocated to Burntwood.
The opposition group presented a plan to the controlling Tory group at a meeting of Lichfield District Council last night as part of a debate on the council tax rate and the local authority’s spending plans for the coming year.
They had called, amongst other for an increase to spending for Burntwood
But Cllr Doug Pullen, who also leads Burntwood Town Council, said the sums did not add up.
“In six years of my sitting at Lichfield District Council, Labour have not once provided a fully costed budget,” he said.
“By providing a fully costed budget, the Labour group could demonstrate which services would suffer due to the services which they wish to promote as well as who would be better off and who would be worse off.
“They have chosen not to do so, and instead hang a very shiny carrot of £1million for the residents of Burntwood. This reads well in the media, but does not actually deal with the technicalities of delivering the funding to the areas that require it.
“I spoke in the debate, and confirmed my support for increased funding for Burntwood and the rural areas, however I could not support a motion which included figures apparently plucked out of the air.”
The disagreement comes after Cllr Pullen had previously called for an end to political disagreements at Burntwood Town Council.
But Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour group at Lichfield District Council, said his comments took the discussion in an opposite direction.
“So much for Cllr Pullen wanting politicians to work cooperatively together for the benefit of Burntwood,” she said. “That lasted less than a week.
“If he couldn’t support my amendment for Burntwood, he could of course have proposed a fully-costed alternative himself, but he didn’t.
“We put forward genuine alternatives to the Tory budget which again saw Burntwood treated as the Cinderella of Lichfield District.”
Cllr Woodward said a fairer deal was needed for Burntwood residents.
“We’ve been strung along for months now with vague promises about investment in the town,” she said. “My modest proposal was that some unallocated funds should be committed to our town as well as some for the rural villages rather than the city yet again.
“This came to about £1.75million. I proposed £1million for Burntwood and £750,000 for the rural areas.
“It was made up from the additional – yes, additional – £696,000 committed last night to a short-term fix for the Birmingham Road Site on top of the £2,299,000 already approved by Lichfield’s Tories. This was added to almost £140,000 that was going into reserves and a windfall of almost £900,000 from a VAT reclaim.
“The £1million figure is not a huge amount compared to what’s been shovelled into the black hole that was the failed Friarsgate project but it would have made a huge difference to our town.
“I’m sorry Cllr Pullen didn’t feel able to support it.”