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Services at risk in council’s new £1m cutbacks
DESPERATE bosses at a council in Worcestershire have revealed another £1 million needs to be cut from spending by 2015.
Wychavon District Council’s funding from central Government is being slashed by seven per cent next year and 15 per cent in 2015, leaving a huge black hole.
The authority, which spends about £13 million annually, now says core services are being put at risk.
Services offered by the council include bin collections, parking enforcement, street sweeping and parks maintenance.
Local government minister Eric Pickles, who has slashed funding to town halls across the country, has given councils the right to appeal.
The district council has already cut more than £2 million since 2010, and says further savings will be even harder to come by.
Vic Allison, deputy managing director, said: “We have already met and exceeded the challenges of reducing budgets over the past two years through providing services more efficiently and reducing costs wherever we can, but it will become ever more challenging in the years to come and we’re concerned that this latest settlement appears to have unfairly targeted rural areas.
“Metropolitan and London boroughs are set to lose between 1.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent of their Government funding in 2013/14 while locally we’re looking at 7.4 per cent and 15 per cent the following financial year.
“We have obviously prepared for a worst case scenario and will do our best to limit the impact on core services, however we feel this is an injustice for rural areas.”
MPs in the county have agreed to back up the council’s case in the hope it can be reviewed.
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff said: “In the summer the Government said that rural areas deserved a better settlement, but now, bizarrely, it’s decided to cut their funding most.
“This is doubly unfair for Wychavon, one of the best run councils in the country.”
Mr Pickles has already said he is unlikely to reverse any funding offers, and has called for town halls to make use of their reserve pots – cash stashed away for tough times.