Community groups in talks on spending cuts

VOLUNTARY and community groups from across Leeds are being given the chance to quiz the city council about future spending challenges.

As a result of the Government's cuts, Leeds City Council expects to have about 150m less to spend by 2014-15. It has made it clear some services will have to be reduced, others stopped altogether and new ways of delivering services explored.

Third Sector Leeds, an alliance of voluntary and community organisations, charities, faith groups and social enterprises has organised a meeting today at Leeds Civic Hall.

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The council's chief executive, Tom Riordan, the director of adult social care, Sandie Keene , and director of resources Alan Gay will take part in a discussion to explain how the council is responding to the budget cuts announced in last week's comprehensive spending review.

The council's executive board member with responsibility for adult social care, Lucinda Yeadon, will also be quizzed.

For members of Third Sector Leeds, the meeting will be their opportunity to talk to and influence decision-makers and find out how the cuts might hit their organisations' own budgets.

Group chairman Kathryn Fitzsimmons said: "The contribution of the third sector to the development of Leeds and the wellbeing of its citizens is recognised and valued. "We deliver a diverse range of activities and services which reach and represent some of the most marginalised individuals and communities.

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"We also make an important contribution to the economic strength of the city, with 20,000 employees and a wage equivalent value of close to 40m."

Coun Yeadon said: "Despite the financial challenges ahead, Leeds City Council, NHS Leeds and the voluntary alliance Third Sector Leeds are committed to continuing their tradition of working closely and effectively together.

"We will make sure that we work together, where possible, to ensure that the resources available to the city are used to deliver the best possible services for the people of Leeds, particularly the most vulnerable."