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.
“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.