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Council ‘Prepare For Worst & Hope For Best’ With Proposed Budget Cuts

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 9th, 2014.

Recommendations to make savings of a further £2,637,000 were yesterday passed by the Executive Board.

Last week we reported Wrexham Council were facing an estimated funding shortfall of £60m over the next five years and not the initial prediction of £45m. It was initially believed the Council was looking at making savings of £8.2 for the next 12 months, however cuts could now reach £13m for 2014/15.

Already in a bid to make savings, cuts have been made to leisure services, grass maintenance, libraries and transport.

The Board were told by Deputy Leader, Councillor Mark Pritchard that yesterday’s report is ‘Probably one of many reports that will come to the Exec Board for next two years to identify savings’.

Speaking about the report, Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance, Councillor Malcolm King said: “As you know the Council has been formulating a budget for consultation for 2015/16.

“The detail is rather restricted to say the least. We need to plan for a much higher level of reduction from the Welsh Government.”

Cllr King added: “Following members wishes from last year of letting the public know as early as possible. We would need to go into Part Two to talk about some of the issues, but we have put as much information as we possibly can in the public domain.”

At present the proposals put forward are in principal and will go forward to public consultation in September 2014.

Some details are given as follows of the £2,637,000 further proposed cuts are below:
£1.1 million further cuts in Adult Social Care
£209,000 saved via ‘Review of Family Centres’
£164,000 in further ‘Management/Staff Reviews’
£75,000 is listed as ‘Consider setting up a Libraries Trust’ which we understand involves further spinning out of libraries to local trust groups.
£33,000 proposed saving via ‘Review Tourist Information Centre’.
£16,000 savings via reviewing the opening times of the Contact Centre
The above savings are also based on an assumed increase of Council tax of 3%

Cllr King said: We now have a much higher mountain to climb. We’re preparing for the worst while hoping for the best.”

Concerns were raised about the proposed cuts to Adult, Health and Social Care, particularly with regards to the charging policy, telecare funding and a review of day care services.

Lead Member for Adult, Health & Social Care, Councillor Dana Davies told the meeting that the ‘Day care review is a review across all services’ and that a review of telecare services and enhancement packages would also take place.

Also included in the report is the potential saving of £154k by reducing post-16 transport. The subject was initially discussed at the Executive Board last month, when members voted in favour of going to public consultation.

Councillor David A. Bithell queried why savings had been identified for post-16 transport when they had not yet received the results of the consultation.

Lead Member for Environment, Councillor Ian Roberts said: “I have only been Lead Member for the last month. We are looking at all areas for the Environment Department for service reviews and putting the best service out for the least possible cost.”

Yesterday’s report goes on to conclude: “The Council is likely to receive further detail on the Welsh Government budget in September 2014 and will receive the Local Government Provisional Settlement in October 2014.

“Clearly, we cannot wait until this point to formulate the Council’s budget given the need to consult and engage. This is why a process was agreed at the April 2014 Executive Board which started early in the year.”

There were seven votes in favour for the recommendations from Cllr King, Cllr Rogers, Cllr Pritchard, Cllr Ian Roberts, Cllr Roberts, Cllr Davies and Cllr Jones.

Three councillors abstained from the vote and these were Cllr Lowe, Cllr Bithell and Cllr O’Toole.

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