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More multi-million pound cuts to public services ahead for Wirral
9:18am Monday 16th September 2013 in News
WIRRAL Council is facing having to make further multi-million pound cuts to public services.
Last year, the authority was expecting to have to save £109m over the next three years.
Drastic steps were taken to achieve this, and a host of front line spending reductions included cuts to school transport for disabled children, closing down a day centre for vulnerable people, increasing charges for meals-on-wheels service, turning off street lights at night and closing youth clubs.
But having successfully reduced costs by £48m, further announcements by the Government have meant the town hall must now find "significant" additional savings on top of what was already needed.
This coming financial year alone, the authority has a “budget gap” of £27.5m.
Council chief executive Graham Burgess said: “These are tough times - for our staff, councillors, and most importantly the people who we serve.
“Councils across the country are facing major cuts in funding and the Government is continuing to reduce the amount of money councils are able to spend on services, especially in the north.
"We have more extremely tough decisions to make over the coming months and the only way that we can do this is in partnership with Wirral people.
“To refuse to make the savings demanded of us would mean setting an illegal budget, which would ultimately result in the wholesale closure of services - putting thousands of vulnerable people at very real risk."
A second round of consultations - known as “What Really Matters” - has been launched today to seek comments from local residents, community groups and council staff before the authority’s budget is set in December.
The consultation, which will last for 12 weeks, will include road shows and events across the borough to provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to have their say on a range of budget proposals.
It is the second time that Wirral Council has undertaken the ‘What Really Matters’ consultation, which last year contributed to savings of almost £50m through so-called ‘back office’ costs, including efficiencies in areas such as administration, marketing, agency costs, car mileage and phone bills.
Our duty as public servants is to do all we can to use the limited resources we have left in the most effective way possible to continue to ensure the services that people rely on most remain available in some form.”
Mr Burgess added: “The decisions are not going to be easy but there is around £5m worth of choice in terms of where the necessary savings can be found.
“That is why it is so important for people to take part and influence the future of their local services.”
The first public road shows are as follows:
• Monday, September 16: Moreton Cross, 10am – 12pm; Sainsbury’s, Pensby Road, 4pm – 6pm.
• Tuesday, September 17: Asda, Woodchurch, 10am – 12pm.
• Wednesday, September 18: Sainsbury’s, Market St, Hoylake, 10am – 12pm.
• Saturday, September 21: Port Sunlight Festival, from 10am.
• Monday, September 23: Sainsbury’s, Market St, Hoylake, 10am – 12pm.
• Tuesday, September 24: Leasowe Community Centre, Twickenham Drive, from 10am, Asda, Bromborough, 10am – 12pm.
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