War of words over new council budget plan

NORTHUMBERLAND County Council’s Conservative group leader, Peter Jackson, has been accused of “playing political games” by council leader Jeff Reid in a row over the authority’s new budget.

Coun Jackson attacked the Lib Dem administration approach and he and fellow Tories refused to support the 2011-12 budget.

The agreed budget sets out net spending of £479m and sets out at least £45m of efficiency savings needed to balance the books.

Coun Jackson, of Belsay, said: “The Lib Dem administration have missed an opportunity to radically re-invent how the council delivers services for local people.

“The result is that a number of front-line services for vulnerable people are being cut.

“The Lib Dems are continuing to pay council bosses more than the prime minister at the same time as elderly people are forced to pay more to maintain their dignity.”

Coun Reid, of Blyth, responded by saying: “The Conservatives are just plain wrong.

“In relation to home care for the elderly, anyone who is not paying now will not be paying in the future.

“It’s a great shame that the Conservatives would rather play political games than contribute positively and properly.”

A full copy of the report, including a detailed break down of all savings can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk/budget