Leicestershire County Council Tories ask rivals for savings ideas
County Hall's Tory leaders are inviting opposition councillors to help them find millions of pounds in savings over the next four years.
The Conservative administration at Leicestershire County Council said it needed to save £79 million between now and 2017 to balance the books in the face of Government grant cuts.
It has so far established where £49 million could be saved.
The Tories are now looking to set up an all-party group to identify where the remainder will come from.
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Opposition councillors, however, questioned the motives of the Conservatives.
They fear the Tories would dismiss good ideas or say other parties had been complicit in unpopular positions.
Council leader Nick Rushton said: "We are looking at something like a Government of all the talents.
"We want to work with the opposition to find the best way of providing good services at the lowest cost."
He said there would be four Conservative members, two Liberal Democrats and one Labour. The group, which is expected to meet after the elections in May.
It would be chaired by deputy council leader Byron Rhodes.
Coun Rushton said: "Whoever wins, there's no money.
"But we can't keep salami slicing at things. There will probably be things we have to withdraw from. This group will have to think the unthinkable."
Lib Dem group leader Simon Galton said: "In principle it could work but we would want cast-iron assurance our ideas would be taken seriously.
"We put forward a couple of amendments to the budget which the Tories disregarded.
"If that is their approach, we will walk away from this.
"We don't want these meetings to be cosy chats after which the Tories will make their decisions and put out press releases saying we have gone along with them."
Labour leader Max Hunt will sit on the group.
He said: "Of course we have to save money because of the severity of Government cuts and I am keen for Labour members to participate in this.
"We want to edge the Tories towards making efficiencies rather than just saying 'cuts, cuts, cuts'."
Coun Rhodes said opposition members of the group would be taken seriously.