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'Keep calm and carry on', says leader of Solihull Council after budget is announced

Solihull Council has suffered an ‘unfair’ reduction in the Government grant this year - one of the largest drops nationally

Ken Meeson
Ken Meeson

Solihull Council has suffered an ‘unfair’ reduction in the Government grant this year - one of the largest drops nationally.

But leader of the council Ken Meeson said despite the cut of 2.7 per cent, he was confident the authority would rise to the challenge and has adopted a ‘keep calm and carry on approach.’

Members agreed a council tax freeze of for the third year running but admitted it must slash spending by £7m, with all departments to see budgets hit over the next three years.

Councillor Meeson was once again critical of the money handed down from government: “[The reduction] is unfair and perpetuates the feather-bedding of high spending and inefficient councils who depend on generous hand-outs from the national pot to support their budget,” he said.

“In Solihull our spending is mainly paid for through council tax. This is tough but in Solihull we have a consistent record of rising to every challenge, finding innovative ways of making the best of valuable resources and keeping faith with local people.”

Services including social care, children and young people, transport, health and community services will suffer cuts over the next three years.

Coun Karl Macnaughton (Green, Chelmsley Wood) said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’ that the Living Wage had not been introduced by the council and was concerned about the 10 per cent cut to children’s related services, which covers child protection and safeguarding.

“Following the amount of high profile abuse scandals, we need to ensure that we continue to work well in that area,” he said.

Coun David Jamieson (Lab, Kingshurst and Fordbridge) referred to the budget as ‘salami slicing of services’ and said if there are cuts made in the public sector, this would lead to less money being spent in the private sector.

But Coun Bob Sleigh (Con, Bickenhill) highlighted the council’s decision to freeze council tax and the fact that no front line services have been axed.

“It’s not what you get [money] but it’s what you do with it,” Coun Sleigh added.

 

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