New Forest Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Malcolm Wade, proposed the plan as part of the Liberal Democrats’ alternative budget at February’s meeting of New Forest District Council.
The Lib Dem Plan would see £50,000 set aside for a Child Poverty Prevention Plan led by a dedicated Council Officer working across different agencies to tackle child poverty in the New Forest.
Addressing Conservative Councillors, Cllr Wade said:
“I am amazed that you cannot see the value of trying to do something about child poverty. You are councillors and your job is to look after the people you represent.
“Some of your electors are living in poverty and you don’t realise how important it is. When we get this rise in fuel prices, that’s going to push a lot of people over the edge. A lot more families, a lot more children, in poverty. I cannot imagine why you would make light of it.”
Following the speeches, the Conservatives voted against the Lib Dem Child Poverty Plan in favour of giving each councillor an extra £400 on their community engagement grants to go towards “projects relating to the Queen’s Jubilee”.
This is despite most Town and Parish Councils in the New Forest already funding and organising events to mark the Queen’s Jubilee, such as street parties and fetes.
Lib Dem Finance Spokesperson, Cllr Jack Davies, added:
"We have the funds to help children in need in the New Forest but the Conservatives would rather set aside money for street parties to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee.
"They have got their priorities all wrong. Just like the Conservatives in Government, the Conservatives in the New Forest are putting parties before people."