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Another £20m of council cuts on the way for Dudley borough
1:27pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
COUNCILLORS were set to consider a Halloween budget horror show last night after revealing Dudley needs to make another £20 million in cuts.
The cabinet's agenda included proposals for next year's budget, which outlines financial bloodletting on a scale which threatens to slash services to the bone.
The plan is the first from the Labour administration which took control of Dudley Council in May and senior councillors, who privately admit they are horrified by the amount of savings they have to find, blamethe coalition in Westminster.
Cuts are proposed in services including those affecting provision for mental health, older people, vulnerable families and children and people withphysical and learning disabilities.
Car parking charges are planned to go up by 30 per cent in two years, while it is planned to slash the road and footpath reconstruction and resurfacing programme by £1 million over the next three years.
Councillor Peter Lowe, Dudley cabinet member for finance, said: “These are extremely challenging times for all local authorities and, as a result of the reduced funding available from the Government, there are increasingly difficult decisions to make. The council has already made savings of more than £30 million in the past two years, but now we are having to make even more.
“I will continue to strive tomake these savings in innovative ways and to protect as far as possible those vulnerable residents who need our services most.”
The proposals for 2013/14 set out savings of £10.7 million to bemade next year, a further £4.8million the followingyearand£6.3 million in 2015/16,atotal ofnearly £22 million.
If the authority has to increase council tax to pay its bills, a rise of more than two per cent would have to be agreed by borough voters at a referendum which would be held during the first week of May.
An increase of under two per cent will mean the council has to find an extra £5 million in savings to keep their medium term plan on track, no council tax rise will leave finance chiefs looking for extra savings of £9 million.
Councillor David Sparks, leader of the council, added: “Our priority is to continue delivering the best servicewecanto all residents across the borough.
“Unfortunately, we are in a financial straight jacket and we are having to do things that we really don’t want to do. The Government’s policy on local government expenditure is forcing councils to make cuts.”
Conservative shadow cabinet member for finance, Cllr David Blood, said: “Labour got us into this mess and nowLabour in Dudley have the opportunity to see whatwehave to do to get out of it.”