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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

On your side: Lib Dems table 7 amendments to Conservative KCC budget

February 9, 2022 1:39 PM
By Antony Hook

Kent Liberal Democrats have tabled 7 amendments to the £1.1 billion budget of Kent County Council.

The budget proposed by the ruling Conservatives and the 7 Lib Dem proposals for changes will be voted on at a special KCC meeting on Thursday at Detling Showground.

The Lib Dem amendments are fully costed and approved as financially sound by KCC finance officers.

The amendments would benefit people in Kent through:

  1. £600,000 for repairs of public rights of way, making it safer and easier for people to walk or cycle. Kent's rights of way has a huge backlog of repairs that requires £5 million. This extra cash would be a big step towards doing what is needed.
  2. At a cost of £2.3m we will extend the Homeless Connect contract that the Conservatives propose to end. This service has been a lifeline for homeless people. Porchlight have criticised Kent's plans to scrap it.
  3. £300,000 to save the Disable Companion Travel pass that the Conservatives propose to scrap because many disabled people need someone to travel with them or else they are trapped at home. There is a national scheme to issue such passes and it is shameful that KCC is proposing to opt out of this.
  4. £54,000 to protect access to school for children on free school meals. The Conservatives propose to hit them with an increase in the cost of their travel pass from £120 to £150. FSM children tend to be from the poorest families, usually in receipt of benefits. It is wrong to make the cost of living harder still for those families. Our amendment will stop the proposed increase.
  5. We will use £600,000 to allow disabled people to use their travel passes on buses at peak times, which presently they are not allowed to do. This will be a huge help to disabled people to get work and access medical appointment or other services in the morning.
  6. (Amendments 6 and 7) For young people we will stop proposed Tory increases in their cost of travel. The Conservatives propose to increase their travel passes to £450 for under-16s and £500 for over 16s. We will use £910k and £350k to prevent these increases that will hit families hard as the cost of living is driven up.

We will pay for these changes using £4m+ in share dividends that KCC receives from companies it owns, the proceeds of which are no allocated to any use in the budget as it stands.

The people of Kent own those companies and we will put that money to use to benefit the people of Kent.

Antony Hook, Lib Dem Group Leader said,

"The Liberal Democrats in Kent are on the side of the public working had to make life better for ordinary families. The Tory administration at KCC have been in power for too long and are out of touch. It is time for a change and we can start by changing this budget."