Council looking at 2% council tax rise, £46m cuts, 273 job losses in 2014-15

Leeds-City-CouncilA further 273 jobs are to go at Leeds City Council next year, according to initial budget proposals released today.

The council says it’s facing a further reduction in funding from central government of around £81m for core services over the next two years (2014/15 and 2015/16).

To cope, it’s planning to reduce spending on services in 2014-15 to the tune of £46m, including the loss of the equivalent of 273 full-time jobs.

After a three-year freeze, it’s also proposing to increase council tax by two per cent – the maximum it can without having to carry out a referendum on the subject.

Included among initial proposals for savings going to the council’s leadership next week are:

* a further roll-out of alternate weekly bin collections (£1.6m)

* better value-for-money procurement (£5m)

* reduced spending on “looked-after” children through improved prevention work (£5.8m)

Amongst other proposals are: possible reduced operating hours in libraries (£100,000), reducing grants to arts organisations (£100k); a further roll out of the late-night, street light switch-off (£100k).

I haven’t had time to digest the lot, so there’s probably more interesting stuff in there. The proposals are all here.

“Dire financial situation”

The proposals are going to be discussed by senior councillors on the executive board next Wednesday (18th December). They’ll then go out to consultation, get revised and come back for final approval by councillors in February 2014.

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Cllr Wakefield “cannot continue to freeze council tax”   

“This is a dire financial situation and no-one in public service wants to reduce or stop providing services but we’ve reached the point where we have to start thinking the unthinkable – all options have to be on the table,” council leader Cllr Keith Wakefield said.

“We cannot continue to freeze council tax as it reduces our income to the point where it threatens our ability to support even the services we must provide by law.  While we have fought hard to protect council services and will continue to do so, we can no longer afford to guarantee there will be no compulsory redundancies in the future,” he said.

 

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4 Responses to Council looking at 2% council tax rise, £46m cuts, 273 job losses in 2014-15

  1. botzarelli says:

    Alternate weekly bin collections is an excellent idea and I’m not sure why it hasn’t been rolled out fully across the city. Cutting one in five collections but still having the same service in reality is a stroke of genius. I’m hardly the world’s most diligent recycler but our green bin is full well before a month is up while our black bin rarely gets half full in a week.

    • Diane211 says:

      I have to agree with botzarelli on that point. We have 2 green bins which are always full to brimming by the end of a month. Its worked so far since being introduced.

  2. Steve Williamson says:

    I have just received a green bin sticker for 2014 which indicates we will still only have monthly green bin collections at the end of the coming year. I don’t understand why the change, which should have been introduced years ago, isn’t being introduced more quickly. When I recently made a Freedom of Information request I was told in a lengthy letter that they couldn’t tell me whether my street in Beeston would be subject to fortnightly collections.

    In reading the budget report it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that transparency was not high in the author’s mind when it was produced and that consultation is not very important. For reasons that are not made explicit a ‘lighter touch’ approach to consultation has been used this year (section 5.5) and a somewhat dismissive paragraph says: ‘Suggestions for efficiency within the council were the same as a year ago; better waste management and less frequent bin collections, lower staff numbers and salaries and generally improve the way the Council works.’ (section 5.6)

    Until the Council grasps the nettle of conditions of service, overall salary levels and, in particular pension costs, and continues to present budgets based on the current year’s expenditure on a departmental/directorate basis it will not make the fundamental changes that are required irrespective of whichever party or parties are in power at Westminster.

  3. David Brearley says:

    Leeds Council wastes money on an industrial scale. There are hundreds of people doing jobs that don’t need doing, particularly at management level. Cuts can be made without any reduction in services that people want. There should be no increase in council tax.

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