Cuts in town hall services to deepen

COUNCIL chiefs are warning of worsening cuts to services in Wakefield owing to further reductions in funding being blamed on the Government.

Wakefield Council’s Cabinet will next week discuss the impact of making £69m in savings over the next four years following a series of additional funding cuts.

Bosses claim that by 2016-17 the council will be spending 25 per cent less in real terms than in 2010-11.

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A report for councillors on Tuesday warns the scale of funding cuts means tough decisions are “unavoidable”.

Council leader Coun Peter Box said: “The council was already facing a huge financial challenge across the next few years on top of the £41m budget savings we have already made. However, the Government has now forced us into a position where we will have to spend 25 per cent less on the direct services we deliver to our residents.

“Our priorities must remain to protect the vulnerable and those most in need. But there is no doubt that tough decisions and significant changes to some services are now unavoidable.”

The council says it has cut staffing costs by 13 per cent in the last two years including a 28 per cent reduction in senior management posts. With four years of further planned cuts and a need to save £69m on top of the £41m already achieved, the council it claims it faces a “huge financial challenge”.

Coun Box added: “In order to ensure we can protect essential and major public services we must keep our budget financial plans under constant review. But this becomes increasingly difficult when the Government announce yet more cuts giving us little or no time to make plans to deal with them.”

He said investment in the local economy and local jobs remained vital. “This will not be easy but we will work hand in hand with other authorities in the Leeds City Region to secure every funding avenue possible to support our businesses and economic growth,” he added.