THE COVENTRY Conservatives have launched an alternative council budget for ‘families, the environment and the community’.
On the eve of the decision about the budget at Coventry City Council, it is widely expected that plans for an inflation-busting 4.9 per cent council tax rise will be voted through and will come into force this April.
But the Conservatives will also propose their ambitious budget alterations containing extensive saving plans.
A spokesperson from the Coventry Conservatives said: “Despite the difficulties facing local government Conservative councillors have found additional funding of £664,000 to invest in service delivery.
“This will protect, and improve the performance of key frontline services delivered by the local authority.”
In order to make these savings, a radical proposal will see the council move to all–out elections every four years.
They say this would end the practice of holding elections almost every year and save taxpayers £100,000 annually.
The proposals also include a reduction to the amount of money spent on councillors’ allowances.
Downsizing the city’s key decision making body, the cabinet, and scrapping deputy cabinet members altogether has also been proposed.
They also want to limit the amount of taxpayer’s money given to trade unions each year.
The Conservatives say these changes will allow them to prioritise children’s services which still ‘requires improvement’.
They claim that they will halve council tax for 167 households across the city that currently foster children.
They want to increase funding for road safety by 25 per cent on an annual basis following a spate of traffic accidents across the city.
The Conservatives have also outlined additional resources to ‘clean up’ Coventry as the City of Culture year approaches.
There is also a pledge to improve ‘accountability’ to residents by restoring ward forums where residents want them.
Ward forums allow residents to voice their concerns to the council more easily.
The Conservatives also claim they will seek to save the 40 charities that have been served eviction notices at their Coventry Point offices.
The alternative budget will be moved by Conservative finance spokesperson Coun Ken Taylor.
He said: “This budget has been based on months and months of consulting local residents.
“It will help to improve children’s services, clean up our city, make our highways safer places and assist the charities in Coventry Point facing eviction.
“It takes resources away from bureaucrats and puts them where they’re needed most.
“It has been signed off by officers as deliverable, viable and sound.
“It represents a bold and ambitious plan for our future as a great city.”
Leader of the Conservative group at the council, Coun Gary Ridley said: “This is a budget for the people of Coventry that safeguards the delivery of key frontline services and actually improves the services we provide.
“By tackling a ‘jobs for the boys’ culture we’ve found significant savings that will enable us to ensure that our city is fairer, safer, cleaner and greener – fitting of a City of Culture.”