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Borough Budget a 'Missed Opportunity' Say Lib Dems

February 8, 2008 3:32 PM

Bedford Borough Lib Dems have described the council's budget as a 'missed opportunity' to extend opportunities for young people across the borough

Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats have branded the Borough Council's budget, passed at a meeting on Wednesday night, as a "missed opportunity" to extend opportunities for young people across the borough.

The Lib Dems proposed additional funding for play and street schemes for young children and teenagers, and for play areas and youth activity areas to encourage young people to socialise and take part in recreational activities in safe and suitable environments. The proposals were thrown out by members of all other political groups, however.

Speaking after the meeting, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Michael Headley said:

"This budget represents a missed opportunity to make a real difference to Bedford Borough's young people. More facilities are needed for young people to let off steam away from areas where people might be disturbed.'

"Youngsters should be able to meet, socialise and take part in recreational activities without endangering themselves or raising concerns about anti-social behaviour. The current shortage of facilities, however, means that this is not the case for many young people. Organised activities in the holidays can be a really good outlet for young people to enjoy themselves and learn new skills. There will be no such activities provided for the Borough's teenagers this summer, however, thanks to the Mayor, his Cabinet and the other political groups all opposing extra funding in these important areas."

The Liberal Democrats' defeated budget amendment also included extra funding for tree maintenance, road and footpath repairs, enhanced street cleaning for the suburban areas (to match the extra clean ups already taking place in the town centre and rural areas), a Ward Improvement Fund and energy conservation investment. These initiatives to protect and improve the local and wider environment were rejected after opposition from Labour, Conservatives and Independents, all of whom also opposed funding to bolster Community Safety via new mobile CCTV cameras to enable a more targeted, responsive approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

There was some success for the Lib Dems, however, as their proposals for the protection of council land from unauthorised traveller encampments and for recycling improvements for flats were approved.