AN OPPOSITION party will be presenting an alternative budget to Herefordshire Council for the first time in 17 years.

It’s Our County are proposing an additional £2m worth of investment as part of their budget for the next financial year.

The budget is largely in line with the administration’s proposals which feature council tax increases of 4.9%, which includes a 2% adult social care precept, and commitments to deliver £3.9m worth of savings.

The proposals, which have now been through the adults and wellbeing, children and young people and general scrutiny committees, will be presented to full council on Friday along with the administration's budget.

The IOC budget would source the funding from additional income for the year from the rural services delivery grant, business rates, council tax base, new homes bonus and other grants.

Among its key principles are providing support for local communities, respond to global and local trends in environmental and demographic pressures and to work more closely with the city, market towns and parish councils.

IOC co-leader Liz Harvey said: “Because it is exceptional to propose an alternative budget, our proposals have been subjected to more detailed examination by the council’s three scrutiny committees than was given to the administration’s budget back in November.

“We will give careful consideration to the comments provided by the committees in finalising our budget proposals to go to full council next week.

“Our budget sets out clear plans for how we believe council spending should be reprioritised to: improve service delivery, increase the number of affordable homes built in the county, reinvest in preventative services which have been cut by this administration; maintain and strengthen community infrastructure; achieve sustainable and resilient growth in the local economy and in the council’s own income streams.

“This budget has been a significant undertaking.

“It represents the ideas and views of many people from across Herefordshire and we are very grateful to everyone who contributed.

“It also contains proposals to implement service improvements based on best practice developed and tested by local experts and by leading authorities elsewhere in the country.

“We do not believe we have a monopoly on good ideas – and neither does this administration.

“Whether or not a majority of the current councillors support our proposals on the 15 February, this budget already demonstrates to the people of Herefordshire that It’s Our County, and those working with us, have the credibility, the commitment and the capability to take Herefordshire forward beyond the May elections.”

IOC proposes to invest £250,000 in strategic planning resource to bring forward the council’s revision of the core strategy and local plan to start immediately after the local government elections in May.

The group also wants to invest £100,000 to start work on identifying and protecting a land corridor for an eastern city river crossing.

Working with Highways England to improve signage for traffic along the A49, investing in school travel plans and extending access to school and public transport are another three initiatives which they wish to invest £100,000 in each.

IOC also proposes that the council should work with city and market towns to agree on how to spend the net revenue from car parking charges.