COUNCIL Tax in Coventry will rise by five per cent from April as expected – when residents will pay more for less – after councillors passed their 2017/8 budget on Tuesday.
Both ruling Labour and Tory opposition councillors voted for the Council Tax rise after three hours’ debate, with only the sole independent councillor Glenn Williams voting against.
The Tories did table amendments, including maintaining spending on highways, parks and street cleansing, partly by scrapping the £900,000 trades union facilities budget which pays for council union reps.
But Labour’s overwhelming majority voted those proposals down, in favour of their £10million of annual cutbacks – reported by us last week – include to bin collections. General waste green lidded bin collections will become fortnightly, alternating each week with general waste.
Among services threatened by earlier pre-budget proposals but now saved are the city centre-based Job Shop – which gets unemployed people back to work – and the Shopmobility scheme, which helps disabled people to get round the city centre with scooters.
The Council Tax hike will put £63 a year on the average band D property.
The majority of that council tax rise – three per cent – will go to fund adult social care, which Labour council leaders said resulted from the government placing further unfair burdens on local authorities.
Councillor John Mutton, finance cabinet member, said the cuts resulted from the government since 2010 slashing £95million per year from the council’s budget.
There have been 2000 job losses since then, and a further 80 posts are expected to be deleted this year.
But Conservative councillor Julia Lepoidevin, shadow cabinet member for finance, said the Labour council was in a better position than predicted, due to a better-than-expected four-year government funding settlement which provided flexibility. She argued decisions on bin collections should be put back pending a review.
Threatened libraries have won a reprieve until the following year.