‘We’re facing the toughest year of savings’, says Leicestershire County Council

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Leicestershire County Council must save £26 million next year – the highest annual saving it has ever had to make.

The council warned that the public will see the impact on services, as it has to save £110 million over the course of this Parliament, following £103 million of cuts during the last one.

Key headlines for the next four years include:

* Total savings of £78 million will be required, including £26 million from April. The council has only identified £59 million, leaving £19 million still to be found. Identified savings include proposed cuts to bus subsidies, waste sites and public health work;

* Efficiency savings of £27 million, including reductions in management and administration (£3 million) and better commissioning and procurement (£9 million);

* Growth of £41.3 million to meet rising demand, including adult social care (£23 million), children’s social care (£8 million) and waste (£2.4 million);

* Council tax rises of 3.99 per cent per year (£43.25 for a Band D properrty), including a two per cent precept to support adult social care, which was introduced by the Government. The two per cent will not cover the council’s full costs for adult social care;

* An estimated 500 full-time equivalent posts will go – 900 have gone over the last five years.

The council’s deputy leader and finance spokesman, Councillor Byron Rhodes, said: “This is the most challenging budget that the council has faced for a generation. We were already the lowest funded county council – but now the funding formula is shifting even more money away from counties to cities and London boroughs, which hits us even harder.

“We’ll have to take tough decisions such as cuts to early help and public health services and rural bus subsidies, if we are to deliver the savings that we need – and next year will be very tough indeed.”

The financial situation means that the council cannot afford to develop a mining museum at Snibston. It will explore ways of providing some public access to the scheduled ancient monument and museum collections stored on site and linking them with the country park.

The council’s ruling cabinet is due to discuss the draft budget today (Tuesday) at 2pm, before it is considered by scrutiny committees.

People can have their say on the proposals at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/budget from January 12 until midnight on January 25. The council’s cabinet will consider the consultation results when it finalises the budget proposals on February 5, before the full council takes a final decision on February 17.