Peter Downes

Liberal Democrat Action Team for Brampton and Kimbolton division Learn more

Conservative County Council slashes services

by peterdownes on 20 January, 2011

The County Council has unveiled its ‘Integrated Plan’ covering the next five years, which aims to save £50.4 million in 2011/12 and £160.6 million over the life of the plan.  The proposals are the Council’s answer to the most difficult financial situation in its history, as the Council deals with the increasing pressures of demand, an increasing and ageing population and inflation coupled with a 14 per cent reduction in the core funding received from Government. The package is a mixture of efficiency savings and radical service reductions. The cuts cover all aspects of the Council’s business: 

  • £1 million from youth services,
  • £761,000 from home to school transport and
  • £600,000 from children’s centres.

Direct support to some children and young people will end, saving

  • £1 million from disability services,
  • £527,000 from specialist teaching,
  • £315,000 from budgets for educating looked after children and
  • £301,000 from the Cambridgeshire Racial Equality and Diversity Service.

The Council aims to save

  • £950,000 from children’s social care,
  • £240,000 from the early year service, and
  • £3 million from mainstream and special educational needs school transport.

In Libraries, Learning and Culture, the Council will save

  • £282,000 through operational efficiencies, income generation and new ways of working,
  • £108,000 from redesigning the mobile library service (i.e. reducing frequency), and
  • £100,000 from introducing more self service and using volunteers in libraries.

Working in partnership with other councils to provide support services and creating a Trust to run libraries will save a further £294,000. 

In social care, promoting prevention and localism will save £2.9 million, adopting reablement  cuts a further £4.75 million, and decreasing the cost of high cost and complex placements will save £1.3 million. In Environment Services, a proposed restructure of Trading Standards saves £641,000 over four years. Spending on environment and climate change drops by £492,000, restructuring waste services will save £159,000 and a proposed reduction in senior management will save £100,000. 

Cuts in highways services save £2.4 million, and restructuring Highways and Access £1.1 million. In public transport, phasing out subsidised bus services will save £2.7 million.  

In Corporate Directorates, over a four-year period, reducing properties and maximizing office space in retained buildings will save over £1 million, reducing the contact centre opening hours and standards and moving more services being accessed and delivered online £426,000, reducing IT functions and delivering services in different ways will save £989,000 and reducing communications and marketing activity will save up to £550,000.  The Conservatives claim that  “we will focus more than ever on our priorities, so our proposals will protect the most vulnerable, help people to live independent and healthy lives, and promote economic growth.” 

The reality is that life in Cambridgeshire is going to get a whole lot harder for the young, the old and the infirm. There will be no increase in council tax as the government has promised a 2.5% increase in grant to councils that keep their tax at last year’s level. This is a small consolation to taxpayers but at a price to those who need better services most.

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