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More tough decisions

CASH-strapped Solihull Council faces another year of tough decisions, its new leader has said.

CASH-strapped Solihull Council faces another year of tough decisions, its new leader has said.

Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the Conservative group, was speaking at Tuesday’s Full Council meeting.

He was installed as leader almost a year to the day since the Tories were ousted by a Lib-Lab partnership.

Hailing the end of their “unholy alliance”, he said that his party now had its strongest majority for many years.

But he admitted that the administration would have look at ways to slash the council budget by some £12m next year.

This comes on top of the £15m reduction agreed for 2011/12 - £6m of which has yet to be identified.

“The £15m was the largest sum that the council has ever had to find in a single year, so it was clearly difficult,” he said.

“But we’ve found ourselves in challenging situations in the past and we’ve always managed to step up to the task.”

He said the Conservative administration would aim for a council tax freeze, but this wasn’t guaranteed.

“We will look carefully at the services we provide and we might have to consider sharing more services with other local authorities.

“In terms of staff we already employ fewer people per head of population than anywhere else in the country, so I don’t think we can make many savings there.”

This week marks the beginning of Coun Meeson’s third stint as council leader, during his 25 years in the chamber.

 

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