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Social Services And Education Get £8m More

Council tax bills in Coventry are to rise by more than inflation to cover a £13 million increase in spending on social services, education and other improvements in the city.

The crisis-ridden social services department is to get an extra £2 million one-off payment spread over the next two years as part of this year’s spending review.

A secret meeting among Labour councillors yesterday decided the council’s spending priorities, which also included an extra £4.6 million for education.

Other council services will get £4.5 million more and the public events programme which includes the Godiva festival, the Jazz festival and the new Year’s Eve celebrations will still be funded.

Formal consultation is to be carried out before the proposals are set in concrete and passed through the full council. The money is expected to come from the government, Europe and the Lottery Commission.

If there are no major changes the city’s council tax will rise in April by 4.4 per cent.

Council leader Cllr Nick Nolan said:

“People want us to continue to focus on the big issues like crime and jobs but they also want us to improve their street, pavement and parks.

“Our proposals for the next year will have something for everyone but that does not mean we have enough money to do everything we want to do.

“We believe we have achieved a realistic spending programme that will begin to deliver what we promised when we took office.

“It will protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. It will allow us to respond to the basic irritations of everyday life – like cracked pavements and potholed roads.

“And it will allow us to continue to deliver on the six priorities of the Coventry Community Plan.”

Cllr John Mutton, deputy leader and the cabinet member responsible for finances, added:

“Although the sums aren’t finished yet it does look as though we shall be setting a council tax rise of 4.4 per cent.

“This is in line with government assumptions and in line, or lower, than other authorities’ estimates across the West Midlands.

“Everyone can be assured that whatever money we have available will be spent where it is needed most and we think it is a reasonable price to ask people to pay for improvements in services.”

Other major groups involved in the consultation process will be briefed this week and the council is expected to come to a final decision on 1 March.

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 23 Jan 01
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