LIBERAL Democrats on the North-East’s biggest council have revealed an alternative budget.

Members of Durham County Council’s Lib Dem group say their proposals support young people, small businesses and hard-pressed communities across the county.

They have six proposals: a £750,000 three-year pilot scheme to improve careers’ advice; a £3m three-year pilot to support businesses; £50,000 more for County Durham Citizens’ Advice Bureau; £300,000 more subsidy for public transport; £150,000 to improve the council’s telephone system; and £1.3m extra for road repairs.

Lib Dems say these would be paid for by: stopping £130,000-a-year in union subsidies; stopping £12,000-a-year in clothing allowances for the council’s chair and vice-chair; reducing councillors’ allowances by £38,000; saving £300,000 by cutting staff mileage allowance to 45p per mile; saving £150,000 by scrapping the County Durham News magazine; and using some reserves.

Lib Dem leader Nigel Martin said: “This is a budget that is all about making choices.

“We shall be giving the council the opportunity to make a real difference to the residents of the county and call on all groups to support us.”

The Labour-led council’s budget for 2013-14 will be set by a full council meeting at County Hall, Durham, on Wednesday (February 20).