Concerns about Planned Cuts

26 Feb 2024

It's been two weeks since I was selected to be the Parliamentary Candidate for Melksham and Devizes. In that time, my team and I have been out in Devizes dropping leaflets and listening to residents on the doorstep. One of these was a semi-retired dentist who raised the appalling state of dentistry in our country, especially for children. To get help most of us now need to pay, in some cases extortionate amounts. The steady privatisation of this vital service is a national shame, and if elected I’ll be pushing for new resources to revive a now almost extinct sector: NHS dentistry. 

Last Tuesday saw Wiltshire Councillors gathering for the longest session of the year: the finance session. The staff have undeniably done well in keeping Wiltshire’s finances above water, while other councils across the country are lapsing into special measures and 114 notices. The pain that residents are having to face with the cost-of-living crisis is, however, evident.

In this climate, the Liberal Democrat Group on Wiltshire Council sought to bring in three budget amendments. 

Firstly, to increase by £3000 the amount each Area Board could spend on community social welfare funding initiatives. 

Secondly, to reverse the charges brought in by the Conservatives two years ago that make blue badge holders have to pay for parking. This unpopular measure has made life more difficult for disabled residents, who often have to manoeuvre wheelchairs to insert coins into machines which are often broken. The estimated saving for the County is just £40K a year.  

And lastly, to maintain funding to VisitWiltshire (or an equivalent body) to the tune of £75K a year. The administration’s proposed cuts are a case of ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’, as tourism brings in an estimated £1.5 billion a year to Wiltshire, and VisitWiltshire with its links to Visit England can claim a substantial role in attracting visitors to our county.  

All three of these well-thought-through budget amendments were defeated by the Conservatives, and consequently, we voted against the budget as a whole.

All of us will have a choice in May 2025 to decide who runs Wiltshire. A party that cares, or one that, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde in Lady Windermere’s Fan, “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing".


This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.