FUNDS to help Bromsgrove District bounce back from the ravages of Covid are being ‘squirreled away’ by the Conservative leadership, claim opposition councillors.

Now they are proposing an alternative budget which pumps money into community support schemes and which they have dubbed ‘Build Back Better and Stronger.’

The budget is due to be discussed tomorrow night (Wednesday), and the Labour Group have already proposed a council tax freeze to help the most vulnerable.

The Conservative Group recently called for an £80,000 fund from which grants of up to £5,000 could be handed out to local community groups, plus other measures.

The Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors have come together to propose their own plans.

Independent Councillor Steve Colella says the council has received £1.2m ‘new money’ which the council wasn’t expecting from central Government as a Covid community ‘recovery’ grant. “The Tories have decided to squirrel away 80% of the recovery grant.”

The Independents say they would spend on projects such as supporting mental health and wellbeing care, supporting heritage and museums, electric buses that cover the whole of the district and increase the community betterment fund by an additional £190,000 over 3 years.

“This is a vision we as a group and opposition members have had for some time but is now achievable with the Government Grant.”

“It is now important to kick-start the recovery and give the district the impetuous to get back on its feet and return a feeling of wellbeing.”

The plans include:

• £50,000 for qualified mental health and wellbeing clinicians

• £50,000 on museums and tourism to encourage the hospitality and commercial sectors

• £50,000 on CCTV cameras to ‘bring greater protection and help stop this district being a dumping ground for fly tippers and cross county crime’.

• £190,000 to the community fund

• Four new rural buses.

• Two new 2 posts in the environmental services team.

The council meeting can be viewed live via YouTube.