Services to go as Shropshire Council budget facing £77 million cut

More than £77 million will be cut from Shropshire Council’s budget in the next five years with a number of services set to disappear.

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The authority has admitted that financial constraints will mean it will no longer provide several of the variety of the services it currently delivers – although it has outlined nine areas which will be "protected" from cuts.

An official report compiled by the authority’s finance officer James Walton has set out the council’s finances for the next five years.

It states: “Because we are protecting budgets for the vulnerable so we need to save money in other areas and many of these budgets will reduce to zero.”

In response to the announcement, both the council’s chief executive Clive Wright, and leader Councillor Keith Barrow have warned that further cuts in funding from the Government are unsustainable.

Mr Wright said: “We are in a very different era where the public will not get services in the same way.”

The chief executive said the council would continue to lobby Government for an end to cuts in funding.

The report adds: “While we remain optimistic over the future and our ability to manage a massively reducing budget we are at a point where we cannot sustain further government cuts.

"We will join other local authorities the Rural Services Network and the Local Government Association in lobbying government to adequately fund vital services.”

Councillor Barrow also admitted that the council would require fewer employees as it moves towards commissioning services rather than providing them, but said exact figures could not be confirmed until a restructuring review is completed.

The cuts follow on from savings of £146 million made since 2012.

Under the authority’s proposals for 2016/17 through to 2020/21, budgets for adult social care, adult safeguarding, school transport, the child protection team, waste disposal and collection will all be protected.

    

However, other service areas have been designated for ‘decommissioning’ while others are listed as “temporary” - those services potentially affected have not been identified in the report.

Councillor Barrow said the authority would now be conducting a "big conversation" with the public to see what services they consider are most important.

He said: “If we feel a service is particularly valued by the public, rather than just brutally stop doing it we will look to put a plan in place to try and keep doing it.”

The council leader also reiterated a commitment to freezing Council Tax, although he said they would reconsider if people indicated a willingness to pay more.

He said: “My own view is we have to do everything we can out of our own budget before taxing the population, but as part of the big conversation that will be asked and if people want to pay more then they can.”

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Comments for: "Services to go as Shropshire Council budget facing £77 million cut"

Confused

Nice to see Mr Barrow getting his sidekick to criticise the Government, not something he could ever do himself.

celtictiger

He's too busy working for ip&e. to make any comments.

rowdyroddypiper

He still fancies himself as an mp so wants to keep Osbourne and cam sweet even though he is an arch thatcherite even he can see this extremist government is taking the cuts too far too faSt

johnfrederick

Why are our local Shropshire Councillors keeping their mouths firmly shut over this matter ? I thought that SHROPSHIRE COUNCILLORS first duty was to look after all the people of Shropshire not just the great and the good or am i wrong?

rowdyroddypiper

I wager that the pretoxion for waste disposal budgets has less to do with councillor barrows love of binning loads of rubbish but more their stupid p f I contraxt with violin which even Barrow described as a disaster. So basically much like our NHS these inefficient construction projects borrowing off the taxpayer at credit card in rest rates means your local library gym park museum etc has to now charge you (even though we paid already via taxes) or it closes. Blame good old Gordon Brown for p f I for sure but you have to blame Shropshire countil for choosing to sign up to that stupid contract Keith barrow should fine the councillor involved and have them sacked oh wait it was his wife who signed it

rowdyroddypiper

Only reason they don't cut safeguarding is because the councillors can he personally criminally liable for neglect and such like so makes you think how they can find money when they have to

Confused

Who agreed such a contract?

Cj

Councillor barrow (j) signed Shropshire residents up to a £800,000,000 27 year fixed rate guaranteed monopoly contract with the French incineration specialist Veolia for waste disposal. That's about £8,000 debt for every council tax payer in Shropshire you have all been saddled with. Cllr Barrow (k) has discribed the contract publically as a rip off and claimed he would never have signed it. But hey in 27 years you will finally own your own incinerator (which by then will be so rusty it needs replacing and won't be compliant with clean air legislation) but hey great investment by Cllr. barrow

Confused

I dort of knew really.

Cj

Have to say if they cut all services so you have to buy these things directly yourself our pay their private outsourced firms, the real question then is what is the point of the council might as well axe it and let serco run it all with no councillors to get in the way of decision making

Mr Wrekin

I have no faith in this Council at all. Waste money, poor decision making and the default answer is 'more cuts needed'.

the fat controller

I don't understand how commissioning services can possibly be more efficient and better value for money.

If you take the example of care workers - they used to work for Shropshire Council. Social workers would identify where care was needed and the care workers would go and do the job.

We now have Shropshire Council responsible for providing the service, (not enough) social workers in a separate "not-for-profit" outfit assessing people, then do we have IP&E sitting between the Council and the social workers? The social workers then have to deal with an infinite number of care agencies who provide the care workers.

So we have gone from one organisation operating the simple, accountable process of assessing people and allocating carers to the complex and expensive nightmare that we now have, in many cases providing sub-standard care and below minimum-wage pay for vitally important work. How is that better for anyone?

jhb

jhb

it is even worse than you describe fat controller. The private providers spend literally days poring over the contractual requirements before they put in their 'bid' to provide the service - this is matched by the same poring over documents that is going in the Council. The figures for the increase in administrative costs for the NHS are available - before the introduction of contracting out this was 4% of the total budget, it is now 14% of the NHS budget and if we follow on the route that the government plans, ie a USA style of health provision the figure rises to 30% of the health budget. Perhaps we need to know what amount of our council tax is eaten up in administrative costs.