Row over latest county council cuts as Tories launch protest petition

County Coun Geoff Driver

County Coun Geoff Driver

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LANCASHIRE Tories have been accused of “having the cheek of the devil” after they launched an online Save Our Services petition just days before the Labour run County Council is due to reveal details of its latest cuts.

The names of around 100 buildings recommended for closure will be announced next week prior to consideration by the council’s Cabinet on September 8.

As communities wait to hear whether their libraries, young people’s centres and other community buildings will be spared the axe, a bitter war of words has broken out over who is ultimately to blame for the cuts.

Deputy Leader Coun David Borrow said: “The Tory group in Lancashire have got the cheek of the devil. At a time when the council is making cuts of £100m in 2016/17, with further cuts of over £200m by 2020/21 to pretend the council doesn’t need to make cuts is stuff and nonsense.

“Lancashire is between a rock and a hard place in seeking to protect the most vulnerable. It’s a pity the Tories don’t spend more time persuading the Government to provide the people of Lancashire with adequate resources. rather than pretending it’s all Labour’s fault.”

He said the Tories had “come up with wheezes involving borrowing or using reserves.”

But Tory Group leader Coun. Geoff Driver said: “This petition is a chance for people to voice their concerns about the drastic measures Labour are intent on taking. These savage cuts will have a dramatic effect on the lives of so many people including some of the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens, and they are simply not necessary.

“We have presented a fully costed alternative plan which actually left the Council with £1m extra resources and we want as many people as possible to sign to persuade the Leader of the Council to reverse these ill-thought, short-sighted and wholly unnecessary cuts.”