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Council's 'viability' is in question, admits leader
THE leader of Worcester City Council has admitted the authority's "viability" is in question as the funding cuts continue to bite.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, who took over back in May, said last night he has serious concerns about the future if the current trends continue.
Plans are being drawn up to cut around £4.1 million from spending by 2019, a record tally, in response to the public sector spending squeeze.
Money from central Government is set to fall 15 per cent in 2014/15 and a further 16 per cent in 2015/16, putting services at risk.
During a debate of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee politicians suggested it could be time to look at merging with other councils.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, opposition Tory group leader, said: "I wonder whether we're now beginning to look at the viability of our council.
"Because that's the question the public will be beginning to ask, are we looking to merge more services and managers across south Worcestershire?"
In recent years several taxpayer-funded functions have been shared with other town halls, including Worcestershire Regulatory Services, which deals with issues like poor hygiene, and The Hub contact centre in Worcester.
Coun Gregson said: "It's no secret that the shared services programme has ground to a halt.
"From our perspective certainly there's a review on to look at the way its been operating, to evaluate the worth and see if we need to make more changes.
"There is work to be done there.
"But the way in which this Government is attacking local government in general affects the viability of a lot of councils, not just this one."
Other members of the decision-making cabinet said all options are on the table in the search for savings.
Councillor Lynn Denham, cabinet member for community engagement, said: "Given the austerity that's been forced upon us by central Government, we should leave no stone unturned in our hunt for savings."
Around £974,000 of the cuts will come into force during 2014/15, starting from April.
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