The full extent of cuts to Brighton and Hove City Council were revealed this week.
The full extent of cuts to Brighton and Hove City Council were revealed this week, as the local authority embarks on its programme of £25 million-a-year savings.
The draft budget by the Labour administration will see cuts to services for people with special needs, and learning disabilities, as well as for both the old and the young.
A decision to axe 540 jobs by 2020 is certain to provoke anger from trade unions.
The budget recommends a 1.99% council tax rise in the next financial year, in addition to a possible further 2% levy to help fund adult social care.
The deep cuts to council services are a result of decreasing government funding. Cllr Warren Morgan, leader of the council, admitted the decisions were “painful”.
He said the budget gives a sense of what the council will look like in four years time; a “leaner” council, with many services outsourced to the voluntary and private sector. Councillors will also look to the community to come up with ideas on how to maintain services.
In 2020, we could be looking at a starkly different council.
Cllr Morgan, said the four-year budget released yesterday (Thursday), was “to give staff, service users, and the city some certainty, on where we will be in four years”.
As a result of government funding cuts, the council has to save £25-million-a year until 2020.
Proposed measures include cuts to services, such as adult social care, children’s centres, learning disability services, and Cityclean.
There will also be a “stripping out middle management” with 540 jobs to be axed. When asked what the council will look like in 2020, Cllr Morgan said: “We will be a much leaner council and we won’t do what we do now.
“We would not choose to do this. But we cannot set an illegal budget. I am trying to do the best with the absolutely desperate deal that we have been given.”
Cllr Morgan said cuts over the next four years will mean some services will be provided by the voluntary or private sector, cut altogether, smaller departments may team up with other councils such as East Sussex and Surrey, and he said the council will look to the community to provide innovative ideas on how services can continue to be delivered.
Cllr Les Hamilton, lead member for finance, said: “We are changing how we do business, coordinating our health and social care budgets with our partners and looking to our residents and communities to work with us. There’s no doubt that we will have to stop non-statutory services if funding cannot be found.”
Cuts proposed just for the next financial year (2016/17), include:
Learning disabilities review of provision, saving £2 million
Leaning disabilities review of day services, saving £580,000
Closure of Tower House day service, saving £230,000
Special Education Needs review, saving £500,000
Introducing commercial activities at CityClean, saving £135,000
Efficiencies in Cityclean management and staff costs, saving £450,000
Closing public conveniences, saving £170,000
Reducing park ranger services, saving £175,000
Moving the Royal Pavilion into trust status with the Brighton Dome saving £205,000
Modernising the libraries services, saving £309,000
Council tax reduction scheme reduced, saving £300,000
Rationalising council buildings, saving £330,000
Restructuring loans, saving £500,000
There will also be an increase in fees and charges for council services - with the exception of parking charges, which will only rise with inflation.
See next week’s Brighton and Hove Independent (Friday, December 4) for an in depth special report on the draft budget.