Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Council leader rages against Government cuts
Wirral’s senior politicians are demanding an urgent meeting with Local Government Secretary of State Eric Pickles over crippling budget cuts imposed by the Government.
Council leader Phil Davies raged: “The level of cuts that the people of Wirral face to their services is simply unacceptable in a civilised society.
"The projected Government funding that we will receive over the next three years is woefully inadequate – it represents a cut of around a third of our budgets.”
The council’s powerful cabinet has already ordered the pursuit of a range of options to keep spending in check, including the sharing of services with other councils and a “radical” reduction in senior management costs. All “non-essential” spending has also been frozen.
Councillor Davies warned however: “None of this will be enough to avoid painful choices unless the Government rethinks and provides additional funding.”
The council’s case for a rethink is backed up by a so-called Graph of Doom – an indicator of projected spending levels up to 2019/20.
It shows a drop from around £375m in 2010/11 to about £280m in eight years time. Whereas cash for social care for children and adults and spending on environmental services are shown with small variations, funding for all other services could be slashed by tens of millions of pounds.
Councillor Davies said: “We are not talking about potential cuts to what the Secretary of State would describe as ‘fripperies’ but rather the essential services some of the most vulnerable children and adults rely upon.
“I am absolutely committed to involving and consulting with Wirral people as we seek to challenge the dreadful budget situation before us.
“However my challenge to the Secretary of State is that, if we truly are ‘all in this together,’ then he needs to demonstrate how he will mitigate the pain of cuts to services for local residents, particularly those who need our help the most.”
The local authority has distributed 40,000 consultation forms to families across the borough to help councillors to decide where the spending axe should fall.
People are asked their opinions on their highest and lowest priorities and whether fees should be increases for certain chargeable services.
The survey asks whether the council should consider outsourcing or sharing some local services with other organisations and which, if any, services should be stopped or reduced.
The results of the survey will be used to develop specific options for achieving the savings that the authority has to make.
Further consultations will then take place to gather views on the options before final decisions are made on how the savings will be found.