BROMSGROVE’S Labour Group said it would use cash from the council’s reserves, saved over the last few years, to fund elements presented in its alternative budget which, leader Coun Luke Mallett, described as being ‘for fairness and for Bromsgrove’.
Among the proposals were the reintroduction of free swimming for the under 16s and over 65s and safeguarding the future of Artrix with a new nine-year funding agreement. That would provide the centre with £90,000 for the first three years and then £60,000 for the next six. It would be aimed at making the centre sustainable whilst maintaining its outreach work and providing it with the ability to plan for the long-term future.
Parking was also central to the spending with the Labour Group vowing to introduce free Sunday parking for residents, making the free evening parking permanent, bringing back the older people’s parking passes and reversing the decision to charge blue badge holders.
New businesses would also be offered rates relief to move into Bromsgrove town centre or village centres.
Coun Mallett claimed to introduce those measures would cost an estimated £400,000 which would be paid for by cutting spending on consultants and IT systems, cutting the number of councillors on the cabinet and by spending some of the cash from the council’s reserves.
He added: “It would come from earmarked reserves which have been put aside and not used, of which, Bromsgrove District Council has several.
“Over the past four years local residents have had to endure £400,000 of tax rises from this council, and the truth is that not a penny has been spent on local services – it has all gone to line the council’s coffers.
“We have listened to local people when they said we must prioritise our town and village centres, that we must invest in community and frontline projects (including Artrix) and that we have to tackle the parking charges if we want people to return to our town.
“Instead yet again we have ‘do-nothing budget’ from the Conservative council.”