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Council Tax Fears As Spending Plans Made

Council tax in Coventry could be forced up by twice the rate of inflation because the city has received the lowest increase government grant increase in the West Midlands.

Conservative councillors are demanding to know why Coventry was given an increase of just 3.2 per cent while many other metropolitan areas did better.

They say the accusations levelled by Labour councillors that the city’s financial difficulties were due to neglect from previous Conservative governments.

With council departments such as social services facing a cash crisis, Cllr Gary Crookes (Con, Wainbody) said the council tax-payer could be seeing a big increase in bills.

He said the Conservatives would save money by cutting out waste and inefficiency in the administration.

Cllr Crookes said:

“The Labour council has blamed not doing certain things on the shortage of money given by central government. But they are not getting any better under their own government.”

But Cllr John Mutton, the cabinet member in charge of the city’s finances, praised the grant increase.

He said:

“This year’s rate support grant agreed by government has been very much favourable for Coventry, the best in years, but the fact is no matter how much money we had we still wouldn’t have enough to do everything people might want.”

On Monday Cllr Mutton will be leading a debate behind closed doors of Labour councillors as they discuss next year’s spending priorities.

He said:

“We have some tough choices to make and I’m pretty sure that some of out decision will not be popular.

“Not everyone is going to get everything they ant. There won’t be any cuts but we won’t be able to put as much money as we would have liked into some areas of spending, and no more at all into others.

”It is the same for us as it is for anyone planning a limited budget. We must spend what we have according to priority need.

“We remain totally committed to helping the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people in our communities.

“We shall also be looking at the continued economic growth and development of Coventry, as well as real down-to-earth issues like pavements and potholes.”
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 6 Dec 00
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