West Midlands CA mayor Andy Street’s precept plans have been thrown into doubt after members of the combined authority refused to back the proposals – the first major disagreement since he was elected.
While a majority of leaders agreed with a motion that they were “minded not” to approve the Conservative mayor’s plans, Mr Street will still publicly consult on the proposals he had developed.
His plans were not due to be signed off at this morning’s meeting of the combined authority – that is due to happen at the next meeting on 9 February.
Coventry City Council leader George Duggins (Lab) moved the amendment. As “hard-pressed constituents” are already being asked to pay more in regular council tax and through the social care precept, Cllr Duggins said he “cannot go along” with Mr Street’s plans to add an extra £10.80 a year on to Band D properties. Doing that would raise £7.5m.
LGC reported last week how Mr Street wants to use the money to invest in transport improvements. He told LGC at the time that he thought the public would back his proposals.
Cllr Duggins suggested reserves could be used to fund such projects. His motion was seconded by Walsall MBC leader Sean Couglan (Lab).
Before it went to the vote Mr Street said he had listened to leaders’ concerns and added: “I will be very happy to review how we are doing this over the next month.”
Deputy mayor Bob Sleigh (Con), who is also Solihull MBC leader, did move an amendment to merely consult on and review the proposals but this vote was lost.
The vote has been perceived by some as political posturing from local Labour leaders.
LGC understands Mr Street will now seek to discuss a way forward on his proposals with all leaders. That could result in him altering the precept level but any reduction could result in some projects being scaled back or shelved.