Dudley Council approves cuts plan to save £34million

DUDLEY Council bosses approved plans to save a whopping £34million by 2016/17 but the authority’s money man has warned the council faces a further £23million shortfall.

Members of the council’s cabinet gave the go ahead on Wednesday to make the savings over the next three years which will see a raft of services scaled back.

The roads budget is among those being hit with £120,000 worth of savings needing to be made in 2014/15 – a move which cllr Khurshid Ahmed said would result in around 30 less roads and footpaths across the borough being resurfaced up until 2017.

Three youth centres are also set to close as a result of cuts to the children’s services budget which will also lead to a much-talked about shake-up of the borough’s children’s centres.

The green waste collection period will also be shortened – from April to the end of October – to help save £100,000.

To help raise more money - the council will be looking to sell spare capacity at Dudley’s Lister Road incinerator to bring in £313,000; and car parking charges are set to rise to bring in an extra £225,000 in 2014/15.

Councillor Pete Lowe, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, said: “The financial challenge is still enormous. We’ve taken every opportunity to argue for a fair deal for Dudley.”

The authority estimated back in November that £26million worth of cuts would be needed by 2016/17 but that figure has since risen to £34million, with fears that a further £23million worth of cuts may have to be made over the next three years.

Cllr Lowe said since initial estimations were made the authority had been hit by further cuts to the revenue support grant and other funding streams for local government – which were only confirmed in December.

He added: “We’ve been taken aback by the extent of Government cuts.”

The budget, which includes plans for a fourth successive council tax freeze, will be debated further and voted on at the next full council meeting taking place on Monday March 3.

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