Council’s morals come under fire

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SUFFOLK COUNTY Council came under fire this week for the way it is asking the public to give opinions on future spending cuts, which could involve anything from road repairs to mental health provision.

Its public consultation, called We Are Listening, began earlier this month, and has been condemned by Bury St Edmunds county councillor Mark Ereira, deputy leader of the small Green and Independent Group.

Cllr Ereira, who represents Tower division, said: “It is morally reprehensible to ask people if they want to make cuts affecting the frail and elderly or children’s services.”

He claimed the £20,000 consultation was more likely to be completed by the over-45s and not engage other sectors of the community.

He said: “How can you ask people if they want to take money from a a frail 87-year-old or a child in care?”

The consultation – see advert on Page 131 of today’s Bury Free Press – runs until October 23, is being reviewed weekly before the council cabinet and full council decides early next year how it can meet £50 million it needs to save over the next two years.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “It is important as many people as possible take part. That is why we have chosen to promote it across a range of media including newspapers and radio, through our councillors and via specific events.

“We have paid particular attention to ensure those groups who are often not represented eg. younger people are aware of the opportunity.”

The public is asked if the council should consider reducing services, which ones they might pay more for and ideas for being more efficient.