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Essex Lib Dems propose funds for climate action, pavements, mental health + young people

February 23, 2021 3:55 PM
Originally published by Chelmsford Liberal Democrats

World on fire climate change 2Extra funds for climate action in Essex, pavements, mental health + young people were proposed today by Essex Liberal Democrats. The proposals were tabled at the Essex County Council budget meeting on 23 February.

The Lib Dem proposals:-

Climate Change action

  • Promote a sustainable approach to growth, development and a low carbon future.
  • Implement measures to improve the green infrastructure of Essex and increase biodiversity.
  • Improve the environmental quality, attractiveness and recreational potential of public spaces in ECC ownership.
  • Implement measures to reduce waste, lower energy consumption and improve air quality in identified hot spots and introduce Clean Air Zones.


Supporting children and young people with mental health issues

  • £2m to enable more vital work with children and young people with mental health issues.
  • Measures to tackle suicide prevention and sexual health conditions will also reduce costly treatment to the NHS.
  • Invest in match-funding this significant additional expenditure with the Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide more mental health counselling support in all schools to help identify and address mental health issues at an early age.

Supporting Essex's young people

£500,000 extra in the budget for Youth Services projects including, support, mentoring and respite for young carers, school lunchtime clubs/drop in sessions run by youth workers and outreach work, including detached working.

Supporting low income families

Protect low income families from the 1% increase in Council Tax by adding £2.1m to the Local Council Tax Support grant for 2021/22 (after recompense for any loss of Council Tax base).

Investing in our infrastructure and keeping Essex safe

Increase of £2.5m in the Highways Capital programme to start to clear the massive backlog of footway, cycleway and drainage repairs. Roads Maintenance increased by £1.99m, Footway Maintenance by £390,000 and Surface Water Alleviation by £120,000.

Reducing Fly Tipping - £250,000 extra to tackle the scourge of fly tipping which is blighting both the countryside and urban areas, in particular to pursue and prosecution of offenders. This increase is to be funded from the Waste Reserve in 2021/22.

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Essex Conservatives have dropped 'sound finance' from their 2021/22 budget and kicked the financial can down the road.

Said Essex Lib Dem Leader Cllr. Mike Mackrory, "This is a highly irresponsible budget from Essex Conservatives. It rests on the quicksand of cuts that have NOT been identified. Moreover, the areas for likely cuts that have been 'pencilled in' are mainly from Health and Social Care, when we will be in a pandemic for months to come, and also Environment and Climate Change, despite that being the greatest threat to our current way of life.

Clearly, the Conservatives hope to boost their election chances later this year by not telling us where the cuts will fall and putting off the difficult decisions that are inevitable."

detailed Liberal Democrat Amendment to the Budget: 23rd February 2021

Proposed by Cllr. Mike Mackrory and seconded by Cllr. David Kendall.

Recognising the enormity of the Climate Change Emergency

Implement recommendations of the Essex Climate Change Commission to tackle what is unquestionably an emergency £2m extra to:

  • Promote a sustainable approach to growth, development and a low carbon future.
  • Implement measures to improve the green infrastructure of Essex and increase biodiversity.
  • Improve the environmental quality, attractiveness and recreational potential of public spaces in ECC ownership.
  • Implement measures to reduce waste, lower energy consumption and improve air quality in identified hot spots and introduce Clean Air Zones.

Funded by drawing down £2m from the £4m Essex Climate Change Commission Reserve in 2021/22 with a further £2m in 2022/23.

Supporting the needs of children and young people with mental health issues

The huge increase in numbers of young people requiring advice and treatment for mental health issues due to Coronavirus is well documented. Current demand is not being met fast enough as shown by waiting times, to the detriment of those young people. Therefore, increase the Children and Families budget by £2m (Health and Adult Social Care portfolio). This is to enable more vital work with children and young people with mental health issues.

Measures to tackle suicide prevention and sexual health conditions will also reduce costly treatment to the NHS. We will promote the benefits of investing in match-funding this significant additional expenditure with the Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide more mental health counselling support in all schools to help identify and address mental health issues at an early age with the intention of reducing demand on services in the future.

Supporting Essex's young people

£500,000 extra in the budget provision for Youth Services (Education and Skills portfolio) for the provision of Youth Service projects including, support, mentoring and respite for young carers, school lunchtime clubs/drop in sessions run by youth workers and outreach work, including detached working.

Supporting low income families

Protect low income families from the 1% increase in Council Tax by adding £2.1m to the Local Council Tax Support grant for 2021/22 (after recompense for any loss of Council Tax base). This scheme will be developed in partnership with Essex District, Borough and City Councils.

Investing in our infrastructure and keeping Essex safe

Increase of £2.5m in the Highways Capital programme (revenue contribution) for Road Maintenance, to start to clear the massive backlog of footway, cycleway and drainage repairs. Roads Maintenance increased by £1.99m, Footway Maintenance by £390,000 and Surface Water Alleviation by £120,000.

Reducing Fly Tipping

An increase of £250,000 in the budget provision for Waste Disposal (Environment and Waste portfolio) to tackle the scourge of fly tipping which is blighting both the countryside and urban areas, in particular to pursue and prosecution of offenders. This increase is to be funded from the Waste Reserve in 2021/22.

Financing - the above items (apart from climate change and flytipping) to be funded by a 1% increase in Council Tax (£7.1m)

Finance Officer's Statement on the Liberal Democrat Budget Amendment

The proposals have set out clearly the funding sources for 2021/22, which includes an additional 1% increase in Council Tax and use of the Essex Climate Change Commission reserve (£2m in 2021/22 and 2022/23) and Waste reserve (£250,000 in 2021/22). The additional increase in Council Tax will be used to fund the ongoing annual costs of the proposals. It would be lawful to increase council tax 1% without triggering a referendum on council tax increases.