Council is criticised for 'crazy' cuts in roads budget
PLANS to further cut the budget for maintaining Derbyshire's roads have been branded "crazy" by the county council's opposition Labour group.
The Conservative-led authority is proposing to spend nearly £2 million less on road repairs this year to help offset the impact of Government cuts.
But Labour group leader councillor Anne Western said it was the wrong move.
She said: "The latest cut brings the total taken out of this budget to over £5 million in four years. This equates to a cut of 32%. In addition to this, they reduced the winter gritting budget by £1m.
"This is despite the Conservative manifesto of 2009 promising to 'seek more external funding to make capital investment in new roads, provide more efficient investment in road maintenance'.
"The people of Derbyshire have been let down by this Tory administration. They have put Derbyshire on the road to nowhere.
"Cutting back on road maintenance when the roads are in such a poor state is crazy. Reducing the winter gritting budget by £1m was absolutely ridiculous, given the bad winters we've had.
"A Labour-controlled council would put back the £1million the Tories stole from the gritting budget and put some emergency funding into road repairs this summer."
Councillor Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways, hit back. He said: "Services are not purely about how much money you throw at it, it's about how the money is used and our approach has been praised by the chairman of the Health and Safety Executive.
"We hear a lot of rhetoric from Councillor Western as to what we shouldn't be doing, but we've not heard anything about what Labour would cut instead."