Huge budget cuts agreed despite protest

By Matthew Bates 22/02 Updated: 24/02 13:28

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Buy photos » Two protestors make their point. Picture by Jon Mullis 08.012.035.cov.jm2 (www.buyphotos247.com)

PROTESTS outside Council House failed to halt £17 million-worth of cuts being given the go-ahead.

City councillors voted through the plans on Tuesday despite around 50 protesters calling on them to re-think the cost-cutting measures.

Opposition Conservatives had tabled an amendment calling for children's centres to be saved and a £2m apprentice scheme introduced.

But the leading Labour majority quickly stamped down on the idea and the original plans were voted through.

Deputy leader Coun George Duggins, who announced the budget, said: "It has to be accepted that the council will not meet all of its requirements.

"Expectations need to be scaled down. This budget deals with a shortfall of £17m for 2012/13 and we need to make further savings of £14m and £27m in the following years."

Hundreds more council jobs are set to be axed to make way for the savings.

Sole Socialist Coun Dave Nellist said the budget merely overlapped main party views that there was no alternative. He said the council should look to its £48m of reserves.

Coun Nellist also told the Observer 3,000 people had objected to council plans to charge for blue badges - which help elderly and disabled motorists - for the first time.

The council will save £400,000 by charging £10 for the badge, which is used by 13,000 people in Coventry.

*IN A separate protest, users of the Foleshill Leisure Centre campaigned against its planned closure.

Council bosses are set to close the ageing centre after a revamp the AT7 Centre, which is over a mile away, at a cost of £8 million.

Coun Nellist, whose children learned to swim at the centre, joined in the protest.

He said: "I don't object to the council finding funds for a new centre - just not at Foleshill's expense.

"The AT7 centre focuses on a different section of the community - the ones who travel by car.

"The Foleshill Centre is important because it's local and people can walk there."

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Buy photos» Picture by Jon Mullis 08.012.035.cov.jm5 (www.buyphotos247.com) Latest News
Buy photos» Some residents tried to persuade councillors to vote against the plan as they made their way to the meeting. Picture by Jon Mullis 08.012.035.cov.jm3 (www.buyphotos247.com) Latest News
Buy photos» In a separate protest, users of the Foleshill Leisure Centre called on the council to reverse its decision to close the much-loved centre. Coun Dave Nellist, whose family use the centre, joined them outside the Council House. Picture by Jon Mullis 08.012.035.cov.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

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