Council houses and new transport in Labour’s ‘alternative budget’ for Peterborough

Labour proposals to build thousands of new council houses and run a new transport system have been criticised by the Conservative leader of the city council.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 3:35 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 4:40 pm
Cllr Nawaz

Labour councillors this week unveiled their ‘alternative budget’ which includes making the city a “leader nationwide in the digital economy”.

The party’s group leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz said the document, which lists six ‘short term’ items, is a “reflection of the conversations we have been having with residents”.

He added: “The people of this fantastic city of Peterborough are ambitious, forward-thinking and innovative. I’m confident our alternative budget reflects that.”

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However, leader of the cash-strapped council Cllr John Holdich claimed that the proposals are uncosted, and that much of what has been proposed is already taking place in the city.

He said: “It shows that they have no idea how local government works, and demonstrates they have not got a clue or the vision as to how the next round of budget reductions can be accommodated.”

Cllr Nawaz said the alternative budget proposals had been signed off by the council’s chief financial officer.

The plans will be put forward by Labour at Full Council next Wednesday where councillors will also vote on Conservative budget proposals.

The alternative budget includes spending £90 million a year to build 3,000 council houses in five years, on top of setting up a council-run company to develop and sell houses commercially. Labour also wants to develop an app where people can request being picked up by a minibus.

Other people living on the route could then be picked up as well. This would replace cut bus services.

Other plans include setting up a £10 million Investment Fund for local business to invest in technology, building an ‘innovation hub’ which businesses could rent, and moving more council services online.

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Nick Sandford welcomed the proposals and said his party would see which ones they could support.