WARWICKSHIRE County Council chiefs say their cost-cutting is on track.
The authority is looking to save £92million by 2018, and a year in the council has saved £18million. The council’s overall target includes £68million in cuts to services, together with saving £24million collected from business rates – normally spent on various county-wide services – and cash generated from rises in council tax rises.
Cuts to date include housing related support services, the fire service, and transport for school children. The areas facing the biggest cuts in the second year, up to next April, are education, transport and highways and social care.
Council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “It has been a struggle, without doubt, as you would expect when we are working with such a huge reduction in our resources.
“However, it is my view that we have combined prudence with innovation in all that we have done and have risen to the huge challenges that faced us only 12 months ago.
“We have continued to seek funding opportunities for grants to boost local businesses. We have invested capital funding in our transport infrastructure to ensure the county is well connected.
“It is a balancing act to make savings while still ensuring that Warwickshire remains an excellent place to do business.”
But Warwickshire Labour group leader Coun June Anne Tandy criticised the council’s plan, saying the cuts were being made in the wrong areas.
She told The Observer: “We appreciate that £92million needs to be saved as the government is giving less to local authorities, but its sad to see frontline services being cut are those that support the most vulnerable.
“We keep seeing positive information from the county council but what they fail to address is the jobs and services that these savings are affecting. The services go a long way to supporting people who need help the most.”
Leader of Warwickshire Liberal Democrat Group Coun Jerry Roodhouse agreed, insisting the Tory administration was making cuts where the most support was needed.
He said: “Together we are raising our voices and trying to fight these cuts as in some cases, including housing support services and home to school transport, they seem to be cutting too far.
“We have to make sure these savings are implemented in the best way, and in ways that won’t affect those in need.”