£42 million 'black hole' still needs to be plugged at Worcestershire County Council

Worcester News: Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of Worcestershire County Council Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of Worcestershire County Council

MORE cuts are on the way at Worcestershire County Council - with a £42 million 'black hole' between now and 2018.

Huge efforts are going to kick off about finding fresh ways of reigning in spending after politicians today admitted there is still big work to be done to shrink the size of the authority.

Of the £103 million that needs to be saved by March 2018, there is a £42.3 million 'gap' that needs to be closed.

A key council report on it was debated during a crunch Q&A with leader Councillor Adrian Hardman this afternoon, where he admitted he has "no idea" about how to plug it.

During clashes with opposition politicians he brushed off claims there was a "lack of understanding over the public consequences" and insisted there was no quick fix.

A council blueprint reveals how £2.6 million extra savings needs to be found in 2014/15, followed by millions more from 2015 to 2018.

Coun Hardman said: "There is still a gap we have to face, which is £6.2 million in 2015/16, followed by £8.5 million in 2016/17 and then £25 million in 2017/18, and we have no no idea at this moment in time how we'll address it.

"The biggest proportion of this gap is the demand on services, it's mainly demand-based."

Speaking to the watchdog-style overview and scrutiny performance board, he warned about the "scale of the long term issues" the council faces as people are living longer, piling pressure onto services.

The funding gap is a predicted one based on Government funding and demand on social care, but the council believes it will prove accurate.

Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour group, said: "One of the biggest frustrations I've heard on the streets is people saying 'yes, I know there's a budget gap, but there's a lack of understanding of the human consequences' of those actions.

"A bit of understanding on the impact upon the public would help - mitigation about how how we can meet the concerns as a direct result of the decisions we're making."

Coun Hardman said he was "very mindful" of the public impact in areas like bus cuts but said "politicians have to decide on the allocations of resources".

The panel agreed to back a motion saying it is concerned about "staff morale" and the "potential impact it could have upon future productivity".

It also urged the leadership to be "aware of the longer term consequences" of the changes.

A vote on the budget for 2014/15, which includes a council tax rise of 1.9 per cent and £29 million of savings, is taking place in February.

Comments (4)

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7:06am Fri 31 Jan 14

green49 says...

Coun Hardman has NO conception of any consequenses as he is totally out of touch with the taxpayers he is a disgrace and should resign, he is driving these cuts he has already decided they will go ahead although wavering on a few as even his own Council legal guys are not happy with what he is doing and it will come back to bite them all.
At the taxpayers expense of course, this Tory run council are playing politics with us all, vote them out, you cant complain about anything when all the services have gone.
Coun Hardman has NO conception of any consequenses as he is totally out of touch with the taxpayers he is a disgrace and should resign, he is driving these cuts he has already decided they will go ahead although wavering on a few as even his own Council legal guys are not happy with what he is doing and it will come back to bite them all. At the taxpayers expense of course, this Tory run council are playing politics with us all, vote them out, you cant complain about anything when all the services have gone. green49
  • Score: 5

12:47pm Fri 31 Jan 14

lilboo says...

The arrogance of this pwer crazy oaf is astonishing! Roll on the next elections.....
The arrogance of this pwer crazy oaf is astonishing! Roll on the next elections..... lilboo
  • Score: 5

2:15pm Fri 31 Jan 14

jb says...

A key council report on it was debated during a crunch Q&A with leader Councillor Adrian Hardman this afternoon, where he admitted he has "no idea" about how to plug it.

If a manager or council worker admitted openly that they had no idea how to do their job wouldn't they be sacked? If he can't do the job then stand down and get someone in who can!
A key council report on it was debated during a crunch Q&A with leader Councillor Adrian Hardman this afternoon, where he admitted he has "no idea" about how to plug it. If a manager or council worker admitted openly that they had no idea how to do their job wouldn't they be sacked? If he can't do the job then stand down and get someone in who can! jb
  • Score: 6

10:39pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Ron Chambers says...

Get rid of all yes men WHOOPS sorry then we would have nobody. maybe we need people that live in the real world. People that really care what is affecting the people they supposed to represent.
Get rid of all yes men WHOOPS sorry then we would have nobody. maybe we need people that live in the real world. People that really care what is affecting the people they supposed to represent. Ron Chambers
  • Score: 0

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