HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s only Green councillor has seen red over the “shambles” that saw yesterday cabinet cuts debate called off just an hour before it was due to start.

Felicity Norman, Member for Leominster North, condemned the decision to defer the debate to full council next Friday, saying members coming in for the meeting had not been told of the decision and only heard when they arrived. A large crowd of protesters, including Unison members, were also unaware of the change of plan.

Cllr. Norman said: “This is a shambles. We arrived shortly before 2pm, expecting the cabinet to discuss and vote on the proposals to deliver massive cuts to our services. The change to scheduled plans increases the feeling that no-one knows what they are doing, and that there is little confidence on the part of cabinet members that they are doing the right thing.

Coun Norman sided with the Its Our County group and one Independent in refusing to support the budget the council passed in February and since found to be flawed.

The resulting shortfall of around £8.4m has to be met by a new budget plan that puts services from public toilets to libraries and museums in the shadow of the axe.

“I share the anger and concern that has been expressed regarding the funding cuts which may well lead to the loss of libraries, museums and other cultural services, and the way this has been handled.

"I feel strongly that, as well as making a huge contribution to the quality of our lives, our libraries, museums, theatres and other cultural services play an enormous part in contributing to our local economy.

We will do all we can to find alternatives to these short-sighted cuts, and ensure that our cultural services continue. It may well be that local councils and communities will rise to the challenge and we will see localism in action,” said Coun Norman.