Press release: Valerie Vaz MP questions Walsall Council’s spending priorities

Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP has written to Walsall Council to highlight the lack of investment in schools, safety, and the local community

”I have written to the Chief Executive of Walsall Council to set out my serious concerns with its spending priorities. In response to my recent request for additional traffic safety measures outside a local school, the Council refused to install guard rails and bollards, citing budget restrictions and a lack of funds.

Walsall Council are failing my constituents. Cutbacks are being made to measures which would keep schoolchildren safe, while taxpayers’ money is being wasted by Walsall Council on enormous green flowerpots in the town centre which cost £20,000. The Council can find the money for this absurd project while cutting back on basic road safety measures outside local schools protecting children.

The Council have also refused my requests to resurface an access road to allotments on Wrexham Avenue which they own, again citing a lack of available funding. During the pandemic, these allotments have been an important community resource for growing food, staying active and maintaining wellbeing.

Visiting the allotments has become unsafe for disabled and elderly residents. If Walsall Council were serious about promoting the safety and wellbeing of my constituents, this would be far a more appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.

Local services have been decimated by reckless Conservative cuts over the past 10 years. Just months ago, Walsall Council announced plans to cut its budget by over £36 million. Now my constituents are being asked to pay a 5% increase in council tax while the services they rely on are being significantly cut back.

Walsall Council have recently been allocated funding from a £21.3 million Town Deal to improve transport, provide social and cultural infrastructure and boost skills. While this does not even cover the most recent round of budget cuts announced in October 2020, I am sure some of this funding can be used to deal with these school traffic and access road issues.”