Leeds' big three political parties have revealed details of their budgets for the city ahead of this afternoon's full council meeting.
Councillors will meet at Leeds Civic Hall this afternoon to debate the budget for 2011-2012. The council faces a £90m shortfall thanks to a £50m reduction in government grants and £40m as a result of rising cost pressures. The council is also having to identify further savings of at least £25m for the next financial year.
Councillor Keith Wakefield said the "unprecedented scale" of government cuts means that the council is unable to maintain services at current levels.
Wakefield has pledged to work "against the tide of financial pressures" to deliver a budget that prioritises and protects services for the most vulnerable people, as well as investing in jobs and skills, community safety and street cleansing.
Wakefield has also expressed disappointment that a cross-party approach to budget setting could not be secured.
In a nut shell in a city with going on a hundred private providers of cheap gyms and pools and a dozen or so private bus companies the councillors are bellyaching over a few leisure centres in deprived areas and a free bus service predominantly used by lazy students in walking distance of town.
One of the things I felt secured Leeds' public finances quite well was that no one party had an overwhelming majority of councillors through which to push an ideological agenda rather than what Leeds actually needs; the roads repaired, bins cleaned and mentally ill and incapacitated cared for.
Now it appears the situation has reverted to a more taut tightrope: 48 Labour + 2 Watermelons vs. a consortia of Lib Dems, Bory's & independents: putting a precarious left-leaning majority of 50:49.
Hence Labour have a lot of clout still, and presented with a change in the power structure they are making the cuts about frontline public services rather than cuts in the back offices strewn across Leeds (and believe me there are a lot of back offices with dubious responsibilities; I've worked for a few)
Might be a good idea to tip the balance of power away from the mainstream parties eh? LPUK are looking for locals wanting to do just that, to stand up to the wolves deciding which sheep to have for dinner.
We are not anti-public sector we are pro-individual rights to make contracts with whom we like without a third party; to provide public services only in so much as to cover the basic rights of man to go about his business and let the natural ingenuity and entrepreneurship of mankind provide the rest.
The collectivists call us cynical without knowing the meaning of the word; they bleat about our desire to shrink the state and raise their eyebrows at our desire to encourage private provision where public provision exists and then wonder why we laugh when their false dichotomy and belief in democracy doesn't provide the answers they want us to hear or be given.
If you feel as I do stand for your local seat; if you can't support someone who can - your area or not it is surely better to crush the consensus politics that have led us here than keep on with the status quo.