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£12million cuts to meet new budget

CASH-strapped Solihull Council approved a raft of cuts - totalling over £12m - at its budget meeting this week.

CASH-strapped Solihull Council approved a raft of cuts - totalling over £12m - at its budget meeting this week.

Library and youth services are among those in the firing line - with the Labour group failing in a last-ditch bid to put money back into these departments.

It was confirmed that council tax would increase by 2.25 per cent - half the rise which had been predicted last year.

The below-inflation rise will see homeowners in the average Band D property paying an extra £25.78 a year.

Council leader Ken Meeson said it was a “prudent” budget and repeated assurances there would be no redundancies at the local authority.

He also stressed the need to campaign on “an all-party basis” to secure more money from central government in future

Coun Graham Craig (Lab, Smith’s Wood) said that councillors had made “heart-breaking decisions” to get below the target of a three per cent council tax increase.

Having achieved this, he argued that cash could be injected back into programmes like Solihull Music Service.

“We honestly believe that this would be money well-spent,” he told the meeting.

But the Labour budget, which would have seen a 2.7 per cent council tax increase, was rejected by Tories and Lib Dems in favour of the original proposals.

Lib Dem leader, Coun Ian Hedley, maintained his party were in favour of a zero per cent increase - but on the basis that Solihull got more funding from Government.

Among the savings will be a reduction of opening times at half a dozen branch libraries: Castle Bromwich, Kingshurst, Olton, Dickens Heath, Hobs Moat and Knowle.

 

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