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At least £2m to be slashed from district council budget
JOBS and front-line services are in the firing line as Wyre Forest District Council bosses announced at least £2 million would be slashed over the next two years.
The severity of the numbers means the 2014/15 budget setting process has started early and the council has launched a consultation asking residents to list spending priorities.
The Coalition is due to cut local Government funding by 10 per cent in 2015/16 with the figure likely to be higher for district councils. The council currently spends £12.8 million a year and has already cut £3.6 million since 2010.
The axe could fall on cash for discretionary services such as parks maintenance, public toilets, leisure and cultural services, with options to share services or outsource them to private companies being considered.
Mandatory “front-line” services, including domestic waste collection and processing planning applications, could also be affected and more jobs at Finepoint Way are at risk.
Council chief executive Ian Miller said: “It is coming to the point where this council is going to have to look at options that involve acting on front-line services because most of the savings made so far have not actually done that.”
The consultation is being led by Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillor Liz Davies.
Mrs Davies, strategic review committee vice-chairman said: “Personally I am sad we have to cut services and impact on staffing but I do not see a way out of it.
“As a responsible councillor and adult I have got to play my part in making sure this is done in as fair a manner as possible.”
Committee chairman, Conservative councillor Stephen Clee, added: “We need to make it clear this isn’t about tinkering with numbers. It is real services we are considering and there is no doubt there will be tough decisions to take.”
The consultation runs until September 24, before the committee produces recommendations to cabinet in October, with the budget due to be finalised in February.
It is currently unknown how the cuts will be split over the next two years but it is likely deeper cuts would come later.
To take part in the consultation, visit wyreforestdc.gov.uk/spendingpriorities. Paper versions are available from district council buildings, the Worcestershire Hub and district libraries.
What do you think of the district council’s plans? Where do you think money could be cut? What do you think should remain untouched? Comment below or visit us on facebook by searching for The Kidderminster Shuttle.
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