Why are you proposing to make cuts to frontline services?
Since 2010 the Council has lost £95million a year in government grant funding, with cuts rising to £119million (55%) a year by 2020.
Why are you spending money on building a new Council HQ at Friargate instead of on frontline services?
It will cost £40million to build the new office. The backlog for repairs alone on current buildings is estimated at £23million. The scheme would be funded through prudential borrowing which would see the Council borrowing the money to pay for the building and paying back the loan over 40 years. Once complete the new office will cost £800,000 a year less to run than the Council’s current buildings. Around 70 fewer staff would be needed in the new building, saving around £1.26million a year. Even after paying back the costs of repaying the mortgage on the building, the Council will be saving £500,000 a year. It will also cut the Council’s own carbon footprint by a third.
More than 1,000 construction jobs would be created to build the new Council office and the complete Friargate scheme will call for nearly 8,000 construction jobs over the next 10 to 15 years. More than 13,000 office jobs will be created once the scheme is complete.
Why can’t you use Council reserves to support services?
The Council’s reserves are all earmarked for existing purposes, for instance many of them belong to the city’s schools and others have been set aside to fund large projects. Reserves represent one-off resources and it is not appropriate to use them to fund on-going expenditure. If they were used for these purposes reserves would soon run out and we would still be faced with the need to find savings in the future.
Our auditors have advised us that our level of reserve balances is low compared to other authorities of our size.
Why are you funding a bid for Coventry to be City of Culture when you’re having to cut frontline services?
The council is providing around £0.25m for the bid, as part of £1m funding for cultural strategy and development announced in the Council’s 2015/16 council budget.
Significant funding for the bid is coming from the private sector with major firms already pledging major sums of money to support the bid. A successful bid could be worth up to £80 million to the economy in the year alone as well as providing a positive social and cultural legacy for the city.
Why can’t you reduce the number of highly paid senior managers at the Council to protect frontline services?
Since 2013 nearly £1.6million a year has been saved by reducing the number of the most senior managers (Hay graded) in the Council (and more than £2million saved through reductions in a wider level of managers), and more savings will be delivered over the coming year.
How can the Council afford to pay for new schemes in the City Centre?
The Council is committed to making Coventry a better place to live and wants to attract visitors to the city from elsewhere. That’s why we are continuing to invest in the city, for instance by building a new sports and leisure facility. These schemes are funded from separate pots of money that cannot be used to pay for day to day services. The Council is very successful at attracting external money and developing projects that do not increase the cost to Council Tax payers.
How much extra Council Tax will I have to pay under these proposals?
This depends on the Council Tax Band of the house that you live in and whether you receive any reductions on your Council Tax bills. The typical Coventry family will pay less than £1 a week extra.