|Ealing's Budget Faces More Big Cuts|
Another £30million has to be slashed in the next four years
Ealing Council says it may have to find a further £30 million of cuts by 2014/15, bringing the total cuts to £85 million over four years.
The council had originally been planning for £55 million worth of savings but the latest budget forecasts mean it will have to find even more.
The council’s cabinet agreed last night to change the way the additional savings are found to 'ensure services to the most vulnerable are protected.'
The Council press release says, "To deliver the additional savings targets, corporate support services like the Chief Executive’s department, IT and HR will be asked to identify savings of 8.3% a year. The Regeneration and Housing and Environment and Customer services departments, which provide universal and frontline services, will have to save 6% a year. This will allow much smaller savings of 3.5% a year to be made in Children and Adults services, which includes education and social care services for the most vulnerable."
Council Leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We’re faced with unprecedented levels of government cuts and the situation has got even worse. Following last year’s government spending review we were planning for cuts of at least £55 million. We’re now predicting what cuts we might be faced with when we get our government grant settlement for 2013 and beyond and we’re now expecting to have to make a staggering £85 million worth of savings. I think not even the most optimistic among us would imagine there won’t be more cuts to come, but if our worst fears are realised the situation could be even more serious.
“The priority for us is to find a way to protect the most vulnerable and make sure these cuts have the least possible impact on frontline services. That’s why back office departments, as important as they are, will have to bear the brunt of the cuts so that things like social services, education, housing, libraries and street cleaning are affected as little as possible.”
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Ealing Lib Dem Group Leader said, "The Council say they are helping vulnerable people but their actions are far from this. For example they decided at the meeting this week to make cuts totalling a further £30 million when the officer advised they could reduce the budget by only £24 million. Liberal Democrats say they are aiming to cut more than may be needed. My party showed how they could save closing libraries and park ranger cuts by not spending £5.5 million on a car park that is not needed. Labour have a lot to learn."
The Council has already agreed £35.9 million of detailed savings proposals and considered outline proposals for a further £19.1 million of reductions – giving a total savings target of £55million. In March the council announced the total would rise to at least £65 million, because of cuts to specific grants, but the latest forecasts now bring the total savings required by 2014/15 to £85million.
Full details of the budget strategy report can be viewed on the council’s website at www.ealing.gov.uk/committees
Ealing Today asked the Conservatives to comment and have had this response
8th June 2011