Wyre Forest council opposition set spending alternatives

Kidderminster Shuttle: Wyre Forest council opposition set spending alternatives Wyre Forest council opposition set spending alternatives

COUNCILLORS' allowances should be slashed, senior management costs cut and a tourism officer introduced according to Wyre Forest's opposition parties, who have tabled alternative spending plans.

Labour and Liberal and Independent group members admitted spending cuts were unavoidable as they forwarded suggestions to the strategic review committee for consideration at its meeting next Monday.

The Conservative administration's 2014/15 budget of £11.5 million - down £1 million on this financial year - has already been fixed, so opposition members could only propose different ways to spend the money.

Independent Community and Health Concern leader Graham Ballinger said the same alternative proposals had already been unsuccesfully tabled by his group at last November's council meeting.

Labour and Liberal proposals say independent remuneration panel recommendations to slash councillors' allowances should be implemented to save £47,000.

The Labour group wants to introduce a marketing and tourism officer, who would promote Wyre Forest, take over the role of town centre manager and help the council generate more income.

Fran Oborski, the committee's Liberal representative, said original proposals to charge blue badge holders to use council car parks were "unfeasible" and suggested introducing a special-rate day ticket for disabled drivers to use across the district.

Both parties have opposed Conservative plans to freeze council staff pay for two out of the next four years. Labour wants to keep an existing proposal to raise staff pay each year and the Liberals are also against freezing pay and have suggested changes to sick pay and three days unpaid leave per year should be considered instead.

Senior management roles could be shared with other authorities if Liberal proposals are accepted.

Labour leader Jamie Shaw said: "The cuts are unavoidable and we are trying to be positive within an overall scenario with which we are most unhappy.

"Either your amendments get accepted, as the Liberals do every year, or you initiate the debate and you might find later what you proposed comes true."

Mrs Oborski said she thought her group's spending proposals were fairer and helped more people than the Tories'.

Mr Ballinger said: "I am pleased Labour and the Liberals are coming up with proposals we put forward previously. Given they are our proposals anyway, we will wait and see what happens."

Conservative leader, councillor John Campion, said: "The opposition amendments vary only slightly from the administration's, so the gap between us is very small and that is testament to the excellent work done over the past year. We will look at them very carefully."

Final spending plans will be rubber stamped at a council meeting on February 26.

Comments (6)

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1:26pm Thu 6 Feb 14

mark.lawley says...

QUOTE from article "Fran Oborski, the committee's Liberal representative, said original proposals to charge blue badge holders to use council car parks were "unfeasible" and suggested introducing a special-rate day ticket for disabled drivers to use across the district."

That term "special"--- How much will it cost to make all pay and display machines accessible?
QUOTE from article "Fran Oborski, the committee's Liberal representative, said original proposals to charge blue badge holders to use council car parks were "unfeasible" and suggested introducing a special-rate day ticket for disabled drivers to use across the district." That term "special"--- How much will it cost to make all pay and display machines accessible? mark.lawley

11:51pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Silene Dioica says...

Members allowances could be cut, the perks including the wine and food and free parking stopped; senior management should be shared, indeed why is a CEO needed on such a large salary (over £106k) for managing only 328 staff. So many other councils successfully share their CEO and/or senior management team why can't Wyre Forest? Or perhaps there should be a closer look at the true cost of the empty desks at Wyre Forest House & why did the council spend all that money on a building they cannot fill.
Members allowances could be cut, the perks including the wine and food and free parking stopped; senior management should be shared, indeed why is a CEO needed on such a large salary (over £106k) for managing only 328 staff. So many other councils successfully share their CEO and/or senior management team why can't Wyre Forest? Or perhaps there should be a closer look at the true cost of the empty desks at Wyre Forest House & why did the council spend all that money on a building they cannot fill. Silene Dioica

9:38pm Sun 9 Feb 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

Free parking. Compassionate Community! Clear incapacity to make the appropriate and proportionate responses. A definite 'x' goodbye to another year of community investment. The social impact being beyond the cosy HQ, that is accessible to hot air in the official spaces.
Free parking. Compassionate Community! Clear incapacity to make the appropriate and proportionate responses. A definite 'x' goodbye to another year of community investment. The social impact being beyond the cosy HQ, that is accessible to hot air in the official spaces. DOEPUBLIC

2:04pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Fran says...

Cllrs do not get free parking, I successfully moved an amendment to get rid of that last year! I agree that altering Blue Badge Parking may well be too expensive to implement. Our budget amendment does include investigating reducing senior management costs which could involve sharing a senior post!
Cllrs do not get free parking, I successfully moved an amendment to get rid of that last year! I agree that altering Blue Badge Parking may well be too expensive to implement. Our budget amendment does include investigating reducing senior management costs which could involve sharing a senior post! Fran

3:13pm Tue 11 Feb 14

jon cooper says...

The cut in councillor allowances is something that has rumbled on for a few years now. It will NEVER happen. But maybe to re-coup some money, WFDC could press ahead in renting out the empty rooms that lie within Wyre Forest House ... A building that is way too spacious for purpose !!
The cut in councillor allowances is something that has rumbled on for a few years now. It will NEVER happen. But maybe to re-coup some money, WFDC could press ahead in renting out the empty rooms that lie within Wyre Forest House ... A building that is way too spacious for purpose !! jon cooper

10:32pm Tue 11 Feb 14

DOEPUBLIC says...

Intrigued that HQ rooms paid for from the public purse need renting. Do councillors have to pay for the use of the rooms or is this another hidden allowance ? Do public and community actually have to pay twice? My comment with regard free parking, is my consistent plea for a policy that exists beyond Christmas. It is possible, even when perceived impossible, if you note the Hume Street medical centre compared to The Minor Injury Unit. A clear tourism winner adopted throughout the world.
Intrigued that HQ rooms paid for from the public purse need renting. Do councillors have to pay for the use of the rooms or is this another hidden allowance ? Do public and community actually have to pay twice? My comment with regard free parking, is my consistent plea for a policy that exists beyond Christmas. It is possible, even when perceived impossible, if you note the Hume Street medical centre compared to The Minor Injury Unit. A clear tourism winner adopted throughout the world. DOEPUBLIC

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