View the party leader responses for Southampton to our public service pledges.
Name: Cllr Adrian Vinson
Party: Liberal Democrat Group
1. I pledge to work to ensure that public services are properly resourced and delivered by the public sector and that there are no further local office closures, public sector job cuts or privatisations.
2. I pledge to support measures aimed at closing the UK tax gap, including recruiting HMRC staff and ensuring tax loopholes are closed.
3. I pledge to support civil service national pay bargaining and to press the government to offer pay increases to public sector workers at least in line with inflation.
4. I pledge to urge the government to honour the 2005 commitment on public sector pensions and to defend the rights of existing members of the civil service compensation scheme.
5. I pledge to campaign to ensure any changes to public services are only made after proper equality impact assessments have been conducted and their findings implemented.
Response: While accepting that local government cannot avoid taking a share of the reductions in spending necessary to address the national financial crisis, are committed to using their influence in favour of fairness and protection for the most vulnerable and the most vital public services.
We believe the council should do what it can to smooth the transition in spending power over the next four years.
To that end we proposed a radically different budget for the council to that promoted by the Conservative administration. (Labour did not put forward any budget proposals.)
While accepting a pay freeze for better-off employees, and a reduction in councillors’ allowances, the Liberal democrats opposed a cut in pay for Council staff as disproportionate and unfair. In this we were particularly mindful of the effect on pension entitlements.
Our budget proposed using savings from the unfair discounts offered by the Conservatives, ‘windfall’ savings, a short-term draw from reserves, and stringent economies in ‘back office’ expenditure on such items as communications and office supplies to protect front line services.
Services which would have benefitted from a reprieve or reduction in cuts included: educational standards and behaviour in schools; constructive activities for young people; community safety; charges for meals on wheels and burials; free visitor parking permits and green waste collections; discounts for disabled drivers on the Itchen bridge; public toilets; tackling litter and graffiti; healthy living and support for the voluntary sector e.g. to keep day centres open.
More would have been invested in repairing our roads and pavements.
Fifty fewer posts would have been lost under the Liberal Democrats’ budget. We recognise the council’s strength is in its staff at all levels.
The Lib Dem package supported the most vulnerable, such as children in need, people with disabilities, the poor and bereaved. It would have bolstered our communities, moved forward the ‘green’ agenda and reduced rather than adding to unemployment.
These are the values we are promoting through our 2011 local election campaign in Southampton.
Cllr Adrian Vinson
Leader, Southampton City Council Liberal Democrat Group