Bradford Council Tories’ budget plan to save £5m is rejected

Councillor Simon Cooke delivers the Conservative reply to the Labour budget proposal

Councillor David Green

First published in Keighley

The Conservative opposition group on Bradford Council had proposed a freeze in council tax until 2017 in its budget proposals – which was voted out by councillors last Thursday.

The alternative budget would also have seen all ward coverage for youth services and wardens maintained, as well as public-health funding being used to instead support youth intervention work.

One way the Tories had proposed to balance the budget and still freeze council tax was by reducing bureaucracy – including merging the council’s education building and estates teams, saving £600,000.

It also suggested abolishing the deputy director’s office at a saving of £277,000 during the next two years.

And it recommended stopping the payment of full-time union officials and withdrawing free accommodation for members in council buildings.

The Ministry of Food in Brad-ford city centre would also have been closed under the Tory budget, saving £261,000 over two years.

The group would have redirected £350,000 a year from the council public-health pot, like smoking cessation, obesity and sexual-health programmes, to youth service well-being schemes.

The group had also called for £500,000 to be set aside to create a new team to focus on failing schools and £2 million from reserves for road repairs.

A further £1 million of reserves would have been put towards investigating cost-cutting measures, like sharing council services with non-council bodies, reviewing the senior management structure and spending on charities.

The group calculated these changes could have saved £5 million by next year’s budget.

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