DUDLEY'S leader laid out in stark terms the need for change at the council saying without reform the authority is ‘doomed’.

Cllr Patrick Harley delivered his assessment at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Thursday February 15.

Cabinet members and leading opposition politicians were debating the danger of Dudley declaring itself effectively bankrupt by issuing a s114 notice which is a statutory declaration by a council that it believes it cannot pay its bills.

Dudley is currently reviewing the way it works and services it provides and the authority’s Conservative leader is in no doubt about its importance .

Cllr Harley, said: “We have to continue this work, this is the transformation that will yield savings that we need.

“Without that we are doomed to failure and a 114 will happen.

“No-one wants to be the leader when the finance director issues a 114.”

Top officers are currently working on a new Total Operating Model for the authority.

Cllr Harley is confident the council will deliver a balanced budget for 2024/25 and says the review will mean ‘things will be different’ but the council will be on a sound financial footing in future years.

Cllr Pete Lowe, leader of the Labour opposition, said: “It is not just this financial year, the risk of a 114 will remain dire.

“We will work collectively where we can to ensure finances are put on an even keel.”

Cllr Lowe, who aims to replace Cllr Harley as council leader after elections in May, told his opposite number: “We will continue to work with you, we will scrutinise and we will discuss robustly in council debates.”

At the same meeting councillors voted to adopt a new policy to provide dedicated disabled parking bays for blue badge holders near their homes.

At the moment disabled bays are a free-for-all and not allocated for individual badge holders.

Under the change of policy, agreed by the cabinet, residents would be able to apply for a dedicated space, where possible within 50 metres of their home.

Dudley’s group traffic manager, Hugh Dannatt, told councillors: “At the moment, with an advisory bay anybody can park there and block a disabled person out.

“There is nothing we can do, where we have got one bay disabled people are fighting it out, this is trying to improve the situation and get more spaces.”