Residents get their say on council cuts

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Proposals to chop the council’s budget by £15.2 million have this week gone out to public consultation.

Residents’ views are sought on suggestions to save money by buying in more services from private companies – cutting council staff and upping rents by 3.5 per cent.

The budget plans, drawn up earlier this month by the Tory Cabinet, have already been criticised by opposition Labour councillors.

After four successive years of multi-million pound budget reductions, officers have admitted it is becoming “increasingly difficult” to identify and deliver new savings,

Draft plans show £1.3 million cut from adult social care and health, £1.8 million from education, £2.3 million from planning and transportation and £1.7 million from integrated support and social care. But council leader Andrew Geary insists there will be no reduction of service to members of the public themselves.

There are, however, no plans to increase Council Tax, a stance which is in line with latest Government incentives to keep payments frozen.

The public consultation will run until February 15, 2014 and will be discussed at three public meetings before that date.

The proposed budget can be viewed on the council website.

People can give their views online at or by emailing

Representations can also be made by post to the Civic Offices in Saxon Gate East. Envelopes should be headed ‘budget 2014’.

Edith Bald, Cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “As ever we have to tighten our belt to come up with sensible, smarter ways of working to balance the budget whilst making sure the most vital services do not suffer.

She added: “We are proposing increasing funding in some vital area, including adult social care, services for people with learning difficulties and providing additional school places.”

Ms Bald said funds were also being set aside to build new council houses in future years.