Cumbria council cost cuts mean 600 jobs could be at risk
Published at 09:29, Wednesday, 29 January 2014
COST-CUTTING council chiefs are having to find £9m more savings than they first estimated – increasing their total to nearly £90m.
Cumbria County Council had been working on having to find £80m over the next three financial years as a national spending squeeze continues.
But county bosses poring over the latest government figures now say the picture is worse than they first thought and have revised their forecast upwards to £89m.
About 600 jobs could be at risk because of the massive scale of the reductions needed.
The latest figure has emerged just days after the authority’s consultation on its budget plans for the next year.
It has been reached as the full details from last month’s local government funding settlement have become clearer.
The £89m savings demanded to balance the books in the wake of reduced government cash support is on top of the £80m already sliced in the past three years.
Council chiefs’ new financial target does not change the £24.4m of cuts demanded in the next financial year, but will mean reductions will be more severe in the following two – with £35.4m in 2015/16 and £30m in 2016/17.
It has been revealed that more than 1,500 people and organisations have taken part in the budget consultation, with several hundred separate letters and emails, and a number of petitions, also received.
The most contentious issues have been proposals to cut bus services, changes to fire service cover and a move to introduce on-street parking charges.
Cumbria County Council’s share of council tax looks set to be frozen for the fourth year running.
Full feedback from the budget consultation will be examined by the authority’s ruling cabinet when it meets on Thursday.
Deputy leader and Windermere councillor Jo Stephenson, who holds the finance brief in the Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, said: “January 30 will be a big day for big decisions.
“The uncertainty over changes to government council tax rules makes this even more problematic.
“The choices before councillors are extremely difficult. This makes it even more important to listen to the views of people across Cumbria before making decisions, and why I am grateful to everyone who has taken time to take part in our budget savings consultation.”
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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