A KENDAL councillor has resigned from the Liberal Democrats after becoming ‘disappointed’ at their decisions within the coalition.
Rob Boden, South Lakeland District councillor for the Kendal Underley ward, took the decision on Friday to become Independent after seeing how decisions made by government were affecting residents.
“Some of the decisions made by the coalition, like the bedroom tax, have really affected a lot of people I’m supposed to be looking out for,” he said.
“Hallgarth is in my ward and it’s one of the lowest income areas in South Lakeland, if not the lowest.
“People have been very badly affected by some of the measures the government has introduced and I felt like the party I was a member of was responsible.”
Coun Boden, 60, has served the area for 10 years, first on the town council and then at district level.
In a letter to South Lakes MP and Liberal Democrat party president, Tim Farron, he said: “I have over the last year found my membership very difficult to sustain, with successive coalition government measures affecting the very poorest sections of our society.
“This is not why I got into politics, indeed it is the reverse.
“I think a fundamental role for any politician is to protect and help the most disadvantaged in our society.
“This seems to me to show that the party has moved to the right and appears to be sucked into this by the manner of the coalition with the Tories.”
Coun Boden also said he disagreed with the government’s halving of the social fund budget, its reduction in council tax benefit, an overall freeze in benefits, changes to how homeless people are treated and its approval of new nuclear power stations.
“It wasn’t a quick decision,” he said. “But in the end too many things built up.”
However, he praised Mr Farron for being one of only two of the party’s MPs to have recently voted against the so-called bedroom tax.
“Rob remains a colleague and I hope that he will rejoin the party soon,” said Mr Farron.
“More importantly than that Rob remains a very good friend.”
Following the announcement SLDC leader, Peter Thornton, added: “Even as an Independent I hope Rob will keep working with us.”