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Opposition parties reveal alternative budget plans
2:00pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in W-Z
OPPOSITION parties in Wyre Forest have released their alternative budget proposals to the ruling Conservative’s 2013/14 plans.
Wyre Forest District Council’s Labour group’s proposals include appointing an empty homes officer, paying council staff a living wage and scrapping plans to cut the Disabled Facilities Grant.
Labour Parliamentary spokesman Howard Martin said: “People who have a disability are entitled to have stairlifts, walk-in showers and better access to their property.”
Both Labour and the Liberal and Independent group have planned to reinstate the community fund.
Mr Martin added: “The community fund gives each councillor £1,000 for small community work. I think most of the opposition parties want to stop this cut in front-line services.
“We also plan to reduce councillors allowances to the level recommended by the independent review panel. Some councillors give the money back to the community but these cuts would go a long way into funding what we want.”
Independent Community Health Concern (ICHC) councillors would also like to see reduced allowances.
ICHC Parliamentary spokesman Graham Ballinger said: “We’re proposing the largest of the budgets and would like to make more savings. We believe the council is not in a secure position and it needs to have more resources.”
ICHC are proposing 50 free car parking spaces in Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley and putting business starter units in Stourport Civic Hall.
Mr Ballinger added: “Out main saving would be management restructure. WFDC has more chiefs than Indians. The cuts in staff should come from the top so we are looking at the chief executive level.”
The Liberal and Independent group leader Fran Oborski said: “In a period of austerity when the grant the council receives from central Government has been drastically reduced it is necessary to look at ways of cutting costs.”
The group plans to consider using unused property including the former Magistrates Court and Coventry Street offices for business or residential use and to reconvene a car parking review panel.
It also wishes to make meetings at the council paperless.
Mrs Oborski added: “It really is time that the council saved on paper, printing and postage by joining the 21st century.”
The Liberals and Independents also wish to withdraw the issue of free car parking passes to council members.
The budget proposals are currently being scrutinised and a decision will be made by full council on Wednesday, February 27.
Residents can have their say at wyreforestdc.gov.uk
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