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Warwickshire's budget agreed after nine-hour debate
9:01am Tuesday 11th February 2014 in News
COUNCIL tax bills are on the rise across Warwickshire – as well as £1 million of new investment to ward off flooding woes.
The cash-strapped county council says it has just approved the “most difficult budget” in its 125-year history.
Some of the headline changes include a 1.9 per cent council tax hike, an extra 44p per week on an average band D household, and more cash into improving the county’s battered drainage network.
Other highlights include a £2.5million investment over three years in safer routes to schools and £505,000-worth of savings to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service through modernising and collaboration with other fire and rescue services.
Speaking after a mammoth nine-hour debate debate, council leader Councillor Izzi Seccombe, said: “This has been the most difficult task I have faced in my years as a councillor.
"Councils across the country have faced unprecedented pressures as the Government gets to grip with Labour’s legacy of debt and deficit but we have been able to put in place a budget that is in the best interests of Warwickshire and which protects our most vulnerable residents.
“We have protected services for our elderly and our children and ensured that no libraries will close whilst also continuing to invest in our transport infrastructure and invest in schemes to continue the county’s impressive record of recent economic growth.”
The council, which needs to save £92million over the next four years, has proposed to save £17.9million through the transformation of adult social care services.
However, the Labour party said the budget has meant "serious and damaging" cuts to front line services.
Party leader June Tandy said: “Whilst we had been forced to accept some of the Tory cuts to enable us to prepare our alternative budget, we concentrated on protecting front line services.
"In our Labour budget we were determined to ensure that cuts to services for vulnerable people would be kept as low as is possible."