Richard Bearman of Norwich Cycling Campaign.; Photo:Antony Kelly; Copy:; For: EN NEWS; EN pics © 2008; (01603) 772434

Tax rise could help services in Norfolk, say Green Party

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
10.39 AM

Richard Bearman, Green Party group leader, said increasing council tax by 1.95pc could have raised £5.85m – almost double the council tax freeze grant of £3.4m from Eric Pickles’s communities department.

The Green Party’s budget amendments aimed to protect mental health services, schools cash and ensure pavements were cleared during the winter.

Jennifer Toms, Green councillor for Sewell ward, said: “Here in Norfolk mental illness and suicide rates are rising but services are being ground down by cut after cut.” The Tory administration countered that some of the mental health service cash removed from the budget was not a cut but, instead, money saved due to new contracts. Graham Plant, cabinet member for transport, also questioned how far £200,000 in the winter maintenance budget would stretch to keep pavements clear. Mr Bearman wished the Tories luck in their attempts to secure as much EU funding as possible but said most of the money was heading east – and he said he was not referring to Great Yarmouth.