WE PRESENTED our budget for South Lakeland District Council. I am really proud that this reflects a solid plan that will safeguard the council at a time of financial insecurity.

This maintains services, keeps down Council Tax rises and allows us to invest in key projects that benefit residents and deliver future savings.

Among these initiatives are funding for affordable homes, accommodation for homeless families, a new leisure centre in Ulverston, restoration of the Grange lido and improvements to play areas.

One key project is the refurbishment of Kendal Town Hall and South Lakeland House. This will not only secure the future of the town hall and make the buildings greener with improved disabled access, but includes conversion of empty space in South Lakeland House to create a new business hub.

This will both create employment opportunities and will generate income that more than pays for the project cost. Consequently, this project saves money for council tax payers.

Unfortunately, the Conservative opposition has decided to play politics with this. Yet the truth is that only a small minority of the expenditure will be on the office space for council staff.

Although the Conservatives were clear that they would cancel to this project, they did not suggest how they would find alternative savings, what services they would cut to close this gap, or how they would protect the town hall.

For consecutive years the Tory opposition has presented no alternative budget and no alternative plans. Instead it has decided to play noisy politics, making unfounded claims and proposing actions that would harm the council tax payers of South Lakeland.

I am proud I am part of a team that delivered a realistic budget that protects services, invests in key projects and prepares us for the future. Rather than empty words, we have a plan that will improve South Lakeland.

Cllr Andrew Jarvis

Finance Portfolio Holder, South Lakeland District Council