COLUMN: David Burling - If LCC was more frugal we’d already have our by-pass

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I was glad to see that the Journal picked up on the budget proposals from Lincolnshire County Council, where they have allocated £30million in their capital spend programme to put towards the funding of the Grantham Relief Road.

This news is welcome, and I am glad that LCC has finally committed to a figure after extensive delays and procrastination. I share the cautiousness displayed by Nick Boles MP, but I feel positive that progress can now be made to ensure that Grantham gets this badly needed road.

However, this comes in the week where Lincolnshire County Council was in the news for all the wrong reasons. The Tax-Payer’s Alliance has issued a rebuke to the council for spending £22,000 in one year on taxis for three students to travel to a college outside the county. This amount equates to £125 per day. The students pay £298 per year towards the cost, but the council subsidises the rest.

In response, Cllr Patricia Bradwell blamed the poor public transport in the county. This is the same public transport that she and her colleagues are responsible for. So we have heard it from the horse’s mouth. The reason why extortionate taxi fares can be paid for so few people is because LCC cannot sort out your public transport.

This excuse is of little comfort to the thousands of families across the county who have to fork out hundreds of pounds every year to get their kids to school using public transport. They do not have the county council subsidising over 90% of the cost, yet have to see their council tax being splashed around on 100-mile round-trips in a taxi!

So, I hope in the new budget proposed in the next few weeks, we see the council stop the wasteful spending that we have seen over recent months. From first class business trips, thousands wasted on political propaganda in the County News and now expensive taxi trips for a handful of students. We need to see responsible spending and the cutting of waste, to prevent unnecessary cuts in front line services.

by David Burling, Labour