Telford and Wrekin council are looking to make service cuts following continued reductions by the Government.
The Council says that the outcome of cutting a further £30 million will hit many community services such as community centres, children’s centres and libraries. A number of proposals due to come into effect by April 2017.
Throughout 2016, the Council will talk to a range of organisations in the borough to seek new ways that community groups or partners could run these services.
Cllr Lee Carter, Cabinet member for Finance and Service Delivery, said: “Local people need to understand that George Osborne and the Government have decided that the money we pay in income tax will no longer be used in part to fund local services as in the past.
“Government grant to councils is local people’s taxes and the Government have now chosen different priorities for this, which means we now have some extremely difficult decisions to make locally about services that we know the community would want to see continuing.
”We do not want to make cuts but have no option. However, we will seek to do this in as fair, open and compassionate a way as possible and will make decisions only after involving our residents.
“We will be talking with many partner and community organisations to together explore alternative ways to continue services that by April 2017, we will no longer be able to afford to provide. If we cannot do this, these services will unfortunately have to end.
“Our proposals prioritise as far as possible services for vulnerable adults and children and promote our borough as a good place to be, attracting more new jobs and investment here.
“The budget would next year see additional money for services for vulnerable children and adults and continue protecting as far as possible these areas from the worst of the cuts. For example, adult social care accounts for 30% of the Council’s budget but over the next year two years, but the net cut to its budget is just 2%.”
While the budget has almost 200 separate proposals, its main focus is on 32 services with the most significant impact on the public.
The Council is approaching community organisations to explore how a number of these services could continue from April 2017, or run in a new way by different organisations and not the council.
The proposals include:
· Closing council run libraries at Dawley, Donnington, Hadley, Madeley, Newport and Stirchley
· No council-run youth clubs
· No council-run community centres
· No council-run markets
· Less Council run children’s centres
The Council says it will consult on three possible council tax options. The first is to “freeze” council tax and implement the 2% “precept” the Government has assumed Telford & Wrekin will put into its Council Tax to raise extra funds ring fenced for adult social care services. This will raise an extra £1.1 million a year and lessen the level of cuts to adult social care, but not enough to stop some cuts for this service over the next two years. This will cost a Band B household an extra 34p a week.
The Council will also ask residents if it should raise council tax to help lessen cuts to key services by an additional 1.2% or 1.9% (over and above the 2% Government assumed adult services precept) or “freeze” it. This is because councils will no longer receive from Government a grant if they freeze council tax which had been worth 1.2% or £600,000 for Telford & Wrekin.
Cllr Carter adds: “A sign of the scale of challenge we face is that, even if after “ring fencing” the Government’s assumed 2% precept for adult social care, we must still make changes to the way that adult services are delivered while ensuring we always meet our statutory duties for eligible people’s assessed needs.
“The most challenging savings do not happen until 2017 to allow as much time as possible to explore possible alternatives and consult with service users.
“It’s vital that as many people will have their say on our proposed cuts and give their views on whether we should increase council tax further when our survey launches on 8 January.”
A budget consultation survey in which people can give their views on proposals cuts and council tax will be available atwww.telford.gov.uk/budget from 8 January with more information about the Council budget plans and in key council locations from 8 January until 7 February.
Member since: 10th July 2012
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