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Coventry City Council is claiming that a unique 'pay versus jobs' strategy has enabled it to set a cuts free budget...
Coventry City Council is claiming that a unique 'pay versus jobs' strategy has enabled it to set a cuts free budget with a below inflation council tax rise.

All the recognised unions in the authority have now signed up to an agreement which includes a reduction in holiday entitlement and no sick pay for the first day of sick leave.

But the budget will allow the authority to implement a pay rise of up to 3.75% while ensure a minimum wage equivalent of £4 an hour.

Coventry's main manual union the TGWU has already signed up to the agreement and Unison, following a ballot, joined on Tuesday. The council has now withdrawn a notice of termination of contracts issued in December to all its employees

Cllr John McNicholas, who led the negotiations, said the there were no 'winners or losers' from the package.

'It is the best deal in the worst of circumstances.'

'Our employees have had conditions amended because the government have consistently reduced the cap on how much Coventry can spend'.

Other authorities claiming that they have been able to put together relatively favourable budget packages this week include Cheshire CC, which says it has been able to increase funding to primary and secondary schools by around 5% (£6m).

Cuts elsewhere of £7m, including a £1m cut in the school meals' contract, have helped to achieve a rise in its tax precept of 3.6%.

Meanwhile Surrey CC has agreed to spend up to its capping limit, a spending rise of 3%, which still leaves it with 'less to spend per head of population than any other county council'.

The council tax payable for county services is to go up by about 7% because of a reduction in government grant.

Surrey chair Cecilia Gerrard says 'tough decisions had to be made' but savings of £4.1m and £9m taken from balances has enabled Surrey to 'direct resources to frontline services where they are needed most.'

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