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We won't let our budget ideas fall apart, says former city council leader
WORCESTER'S Conservative group has upped the ante ahead of May's local elections - by saying if they grab power they will REVIST a raft of rejected ideas.
The party put forward 12 possible alterations to the Labour leadership's 2014/15 budget last month, only for all but one of them to be thrown out.
Now the Tories say if they regain control of the authority, they will seek to implement a radical blueprint.
- Rubbish collections and parks maintenance would be handed to an outside provider with the aim of saving around £200,000 a year
- Scrapping a plan to cut £45,000 from road sweeping and cleaning
- Re-instating £10,000 due to removed from the play equipment budget
- Examining all office space with a view to "radically reduce" it, including more flexible working and hot desking
- Launching a new plan to hand all back office functions to outside bodies, and setting up a "small, highly skilled" core of staff to work towards implementing the project
In February the Tories also tried to freeze council tax, but that idea cannot be re-visited because bills are going up next month.
The party's blueprint suggests setting up a staffing core to commission out areas of work is likely to cost £100,000, with the aim of saving £250,000 a year.
The Tories want to save £50,000 by reducing building space, but not cutting road and street sweeping would leave an £80,000 black hole by 2016.
The city council has factored in savings of just under £1 million in 2014/15 due to unprecedented financial pressure.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of the group, said: "We will be seeking to implement our budget amendments if we came to power.
"We've got to be clear, partnership working must be this council's default position now."
The Labour leadership says commissioning will not be off the agenda due to the fact more savings need to be made.
By 2019 around £4.1 million is likely to be have to be cut, and Labour say the raft of Conservative ideas are lacking financial credibility.
Councillor Richard Boorn, cabinet member for finance, said: "There are too many high level assumptions being made.
"A business would not take this seriously, it's too risky to say 'let's do this and we'll save this amount' with no proper work done on it."
The only Conservative budget change to be accepted was a £50,000 hardship fund for flood recovery victims.
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