Shropshire Star

'Seriously dark times' ahead as Shropshire Council approves tax rise and millions in cuts

Shropshire Council’s leader says the authority is facing “seriously dark times”, as it approved a five per cent council tax rise and a £62 million package of budget cuts.

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Councillor Lezley Picton, inset, has warned of 'seriously dark times' ahead for Shropshire Council

Councillor Lezley Picton told a heated meeting of Shropshire Council that the authority had taken “really tough decisions” to balance its budget in the face of a bleak financial landscape for local government.

But opposition group leaders said the administration had wasted its capital money on ‘shiny projects’ and claimed the council’s financial strategy had failed.

The council’s cost cutting measures include shrinking the organisation by 300 staff, charging for its green waste collections and cutting the number of household recycling centres in the county from five to three.

Councillor Picton said: “The revenue budget before you today is tough. It’s really tough. Any proposals that result in job losses and changes or cessation of services is heartbreaking.

“However, this budget will protect services, it will save the council from what is happening in other authorities where services are being cut completely.

“As a sector we’ve had tough times before where savings have had to be made and services altered radically. However right now in Shropshire and in councils across the country we are entering seriously dark times.

“Increased demand couple with rising costs, sustained high inflation and no sign of fairer funding means we’re faced with making really tough decisions to set a balanced budget.