Council tax rise and £29m of cuts revealed in Worcestershire County Council budget

The new budget has been revealed

Councillor Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council leader

First published in News
Last updated
Evesham Journal: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

THE long-awaited Worcestershire County Council budget for 2014/15 has finally been published - revealing £29 million of cuts.

The cash-strapped authority has also confirmed a plan to increase council tax for the first time since 2010 - with a 1.9 per cent hike due from April.

The budget, which will be voted on in February, includes:

- A £357 million spend, including an extra £3.5 million being poured into taking children into care

- £11 million of cuts to adult social care spending through the controversial Future Lives project, affecting at-home care visits, homeless support, domestic abuse and more

- £1.8 million of reductions in highways spending, largely through negotiating a new deal with Ringway

- £3 million of cuts to bus services, affecting 88 services on 43 routes and Worcester’s two park and rides at Perdiswell and Sixways

- Culls in staffing, workforce training, management roles, hiving off services to volunteers or other outside bodies, better use of property, and other reductions

- A popular move to give all 57 councillors £10,000 each to spend on worthy causes will be retained

- A 1.94 per cent council tax rise, adding an extra £19.88 on the average band D bill of £1,453.52 in Worcester

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A new report on the budget, due to be discussed by the Conservative cabinet on Thursday, says there is still a gap of around £2.6 million to be addressed.

It also says cuts in funding from the Government of around nine per cent and major demographic pressures means changes must be made.

The council tax rise is despite the Coalition offering town halls cash sweeteners of one per cent to back a freeze.

The report says freezing rates over the last three years means average band D bills are around £65 lower than they should be.

It says the past agreement has meant £40 million being retained by householders.

The report also cites some targets the council has, which includes spending an extra £500,000 on recruiting new social workers.

In recent months 20 new staff have been taken on and at least another 10 will be added to that, due to demands on the service.

It also says focus will remain on the A4440 Southern Link Road in Worcester, which is due a £38 million part-dualling, getting work underway on Worcester Technology Park and completing the next phase of the Hoobrook Link Road in Kidderminster.

It says: “The budget is a clear commitment to support investment in key areas of service whilst maintaining a focus on the transformation of the council to deliver and improve the services that residents have said that they value and support.”

The cuts are part of plans to shed £98 million from spending by 2017, including at least 600 job losses.

Comments (14)

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1:18pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Hwicce says...

They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's.

How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye".
They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's. How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye". Hwicce
  • Score: 17

1:23pm Tue 7 Jan 14

CJH says...

Hwicce wrote:
They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's.

How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye".
AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE! And then AYE again!
[quote][p][bold]Hwicce[/bold] wrote: They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's. How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye".[/p][/quote]AYE AYE AYE AYE AYE! And then AYE again! CJH
  • Score: 10

2:10pm Tue 7 Jan 14

3thinker says...

Hwicce wrote:
They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's.

How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye".
I note with concern the councillors have decided to retain their £10,000 individual 'slush fund' over which I assume there is little scrutiny and which I'm sure they'll be tempted to use in ways that may bring them support at election time.

Surely its difficult to justify its retention on any rational basis and should be a prime target for making a £570,000 annual saving?
[quote][p][bold]Hwicce[/bold] wrote: They seem to keep cutting the staff and services but there's never a mention of reducing the number of Councillor's. How about a 20% reduction in them? All in favour say "aye".[/p][/quote]I note with concern the councillors have decided to retain their £10,000 individual 'slush fund' over which I assume there is little scrutiny and which I'm sure they'll be tempted to use in ways that may bring them support at election time. Surely its difficult to justify its retention on any rational basis and should be a prime target for making a £570,000 annual saving? 3thinker
  • Score: 12

3:39pm Tue 7 Jan 14

old misery says...

Nice to see the cuts are the same as predicted prior the meetings set up to get the ideas and reccomendations of Joe Public. Also to see they intend to load more onto Volunteer services, strange that these same councillors have excluded me and many others from helping these services as WE ARE TOO OLD thats right you read it correctly.Despite the Medical proffession and the DVLA deeming us fit to drive they claim we are incapable. Age limits do not apply to Councillors.
Nice to see the cuts are the same as predicted prior the meetings set up to get the ideas and reccomendations of Joe Public. Also to see they intend to load more onto Volunteer services, strange that these same councillors have excluded me and many others from helping these services as WE ARE TOO OLD thats right you read it correctly.Despite the Medical proffession and the DVLA deeming us fit to drive they claim we are incapable. Age limits do not apply to Councillors. old misery
  • Score: 5

7:00pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Guy66 says...

old misery wrote:
Nice to see the cuts are the same as predicted prior the meetings set up to get the ideas and reccomendations of Joe Public. Also to see they intend to load more onto Volunteer services, strange that these same councillors have excluded me and many others from helping these services as WE ARE TOO OLD thats right you read it correctly.Despite the Medical proffession and the DVLA deeming us fit to drive they claim we are incapable. Age limits do not apply to Councillors.
Isn't discrimination based on age against the Law?
[quote][p][bold]old misery[/bold] wrote: Nice to see the cuts are the same as predicted prior the meetings set up to get the ideas and reccomendations of Joe Public. Also to see they intend to load more onto Volunteer services, strange that these same councillors have excluded me and many others from helping these services as WE ARE TOO OLD thats right you read it correctly.Despite the Medical proffession and the DVLA deeming us fit to drive they claim we are incapable. Age limits do not apply to Councillors.[/p][/quote]Isn't discrimination based on age against the Law? Guy66
  • Score: 2

7:06pm Tue 7 Jan 14

PrivateSi says...

We need a far more efficient benefits and tax system with far more automation and far less printed paperwork... Homechoice Plus was expensive but basically well implemented, Universal Job Match was poorly implemented...

I'd have introduced a LAW and an INTELLIGENT SYSTEM - Universal Job Search Record checks your searches and job applications are within your capabilities. The LAW is: All UK Online Employment Agencies must provide an UPLOAD MY SEARCHES & APPLICATIONS (separate buttons if you like) to The User's Universal Job Search Record...

A voluntary system for the more modern, qualified folk (who don't need the Work Program either). Simply sign in with ID, once a fortnight at the front desk (or weekly for all I care but may be problematic / costly for some)...

If The Government wanted a NATIONALISED CHEAPER COMPETITOR to ONLINE JOB SITES it should have BOUGHT ONE OF THE WELL IMPLEMENTED, smaller, UK companies, OUTRIGHT and continued to operate it AT A PROFIT to pay for a WELL IMPLEMENTED Universal Job Match Online Job Site that CHARGES LESS (for state & lower paid temp jobs)... There are many decent sites they could have chosen from...
We need a far more efficient benefits and tax system with far more automation and far less printed paperwork... Homechoice Plus was expensive but basically well implemented, Universal Job Match was poorly implemented... I'd have introduced a LAW and an INTELLIGENT SYSTEM - Universal Job Search Record checks your searches and job applications are within your capabilities. The LAW is: All UK Online Employment Agencies must provide an UPLOAD MY SEARCHES & APPLICATIONS (separate buttons if you like) to The User's Universal Job Search Record... A voluntary system for the more modern, qualified folk (who don't need the Work Program either). Simply sign in with ID, once a fortnight at the front desk (or weekly for all I care but may be problematic / costly for some)... If The Government wanted a NATIONALISED CHEAPER COMPETITOR to ONLINE JOB SITES it should have BOUGHT ONE OF THE WELL IMPLEMENTED, smaller, UK companies, OUTRIGHT and continued to operate it AT A PROFIT to pay for a WELL IMPLEMENTED Universal Job Match Online Job Site that CHARGES LESS (for state & lower paid temp jobs)... There are many decent sites they could have chosen from... PrivateSi
  • Score: -4

7:12pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Bufton Tufton says...

"The report says freezing rates over the last three years means average band D bills are around £65 lower than they should be.
It says the past agreement has meant £40 million being retained by householders"

"Retained by householders", that's an odd way of putting it but if that is the case, what was the point of the freeze in the first place? How about dipping into the councils huge cash hoard which ( like a giant never broken into piggy bank )
seems to exist for no apparent reason whatsoever. At least a piggy bank looks nice on the sideboard!
"The report says freezing rates over the last three years means average band D bills are around £65 lower than they should be. It says the past agreement has meant £40 million being retained by householders" "Retained by householders", that's an odd way of putting it but if that is the case, what was the point of the freeze in the first place? How about dipping into the councils huge cash hoard which ( like a giant never broken into piggy bank ) seems to exist for no apparent reason whatsoever. At least a piggy bank looks nice on the sideboard! Bufton Tufton
  • Score: -3

9:39pm Tue 7 Jan 14

PrivateSi says...

.. Banks & High Street Job Agencies should RUN THE BENEFITS SYSTEM - at a 10th of the COST, Billlions Savers.. I'm actually a RAVING LEFTY TOO - would you believe it - A VERY EFFICIENT, MINIMALIST LEFTY, bureaucracy-wise, TRADITIONALIST, EXTERIOR-Architectur
e-wise... And I mean that literally, Front Line Statespeople... _National Consumerism, PrivateSi_

SORRY, but NO APOLOGIES...
.. Banks & High Street Job Agencies should RUN THE BENEFITS SYSTEM - at a 10th of the COST, Billlions Savers.. I'm actually a RAVING LEFTY TOO - would you believe it - A VERY EFFICIENT, MINIMALIST LEFTY, bureaucracy-wise, TRADITIONALIST, EXTERIOR-Architectur e-wise... And I mean that literally, Front Line Statespeople... _National Consumerism, PrivateSi_ SORRY, but NO APOLOGIES... PrivateSi
  • Score: -5

9:44pm Tue 7 Jan 14

PrivateSi says...

... AND THE POST OFFICE, for benefits Admin - that also get a FREE Natwest or RBS CASHPOINT... LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDERS...
... AND THE POST OFFICE, for benefits Admin - that also get a FREE Natwest or RBS CASHPOINT... LOCAL SERVICE PROVIDERS... PrivateSi
  • Score: -4

11:02pm Tue 7 Jan 14

PrivateSi says...

YOU CAN'T ADD UP and YOUR SOCIAL POLICIES ARE ANTISOCIAL, Establishment Ways...
YOU CAN'T ADD UP and YOUR SOCIAL POLICIES ARE ANTISOCIAL, Establishment Ways... PrivateSi
  • Score: -3

11:10pm Tue 7 Jan 14

3thinker says...

PrivateSi wrote:
YOU CAN'T ADD UP and YOUR SOCIAL POLICIES ARE ANTISOCIAL, Establishment Ways...
And what's all this got to do with County Council cuts?
[quote][p][bold]PrivateSi[/bold] wrote: YOU CAN'T ADD UP and YOUR SOCIAL POLICIES ARE ANTISOCIAL, Establishment Ways...[/p][/quote]And what's all this got to do with County Council cuts? 3thinker
  • Score: 3

11:39pm Tue 7 Jan 14

voledog says...

I find it extraordinary that what some people want the most out of these devastating and unfair cuts is less local democratic representation. Getting rid of local councillors will just mean even more centralised power and everyone getting less of a say in their local area.

The problem with our local representatives isn't that they're just crap at their jobs, it's that pretty much everything they do is controlled by diktats from Westminster. Councillors have no real power at the moment. Our local votes should be the most important votes we cast because they should effect we the place we live in. Councillors should be able to make real decisions and be free to fully set local taxes and fully control their own budgets so we get a proper accountable local democracy.

When half the money comes from central government it's easy to squander £8million on a new roundabout while our old folk are left alone in cold houses, sat in their soiled undergarments because Tory cuts in social services means no-one turns up to tend to their needs. If all that money had been raised locally then locally politicians would be a hell of a lot more conscious of the fact that genuine human need is considerably more important than people getting through a road junction 30 seconds quicker.
I find it extraordinary that what some people want the most out of these devastating and unfair cuts is less local democratic representation. Getting rid of local councillors will just mean even more centralised power and everyone getting less of a say in their local area. The problem with our local representatives isn't that they're just crap at their jobs, it's that pretty much everything they do is controlled by diktats from Westminster. Councillors have no real power at the moment. Our local votes should be the most important votes we cast because they should effect we the place we live in. Councillors should be able to make real decisions and be free to fully set local taxes and fully control their own budgets so we get a proper accountable local democracy. When half the money comes from central government it's easy to squander £8million on a new roundabout while our old folk are left alone in cold houses, sat in their soiled undergarments because Tory cuts in social services means no-one turns up to tend to their needs. If all that money had been raised locally then locally politicians would be a hell of a lot more conscious of the fact that genuine human need is considerably more important than people getting through a road junction 30 seconds quicker. voledog
  • Score: 4

11:28am Wed 8 Jan 14

Guy66 says...

voledog wrote:
I find it extraordinary that what some people want the most out of these devastating and unfair cuts is less local democratic representation. Getting rid of local councillors will just mean even more centralised power and everyone getting less of a say in their local area.

The problem with our local representatives isn't that they're just crap at their jobs, it's that pretty much everything they do is controlled by diktats from Westminster. Councillors have no real power at the moment. Our local votes should be the most important votes we cast because they should effect we the place we live in. Councillors should be able to make real decisions and be free to fully set local taxes and fully control their own budgets so we get a proper accountable local democracy.

When half the money comes from central government it's easy to squander £8million on a new roundabout while our old folk are left alone in cold houses, sat in their soiled undergarments because Tory cuts in social services means no-one turns up to tend to their needs. If all that money had been raised locally then locally politicians would be a hell of a lot more conscious of the fact that genuine human need is considerably more important than people getting through a road junction 30 seconds quicker.
The lack of understanding between a budget and running a service is astounding. While Westminster might provide funding, or not provide funding, the actual service is still run locally and it is Worcester City or CC that need to rework services if they cannot fund them. So blaming Westminster for someone not turning from up Worcester City/CC to provide a service is nuts. The local service heads have the responsibility to provide service or provide effective communication to those affected. Neither seem to be within the local Worcester City/CC capabilities!
[quote][p][bold]voledog[/bold] wrote: I find it extraordinary that what some people want the most out of these devastating and unfair cuts is less local democratic representation. Getting rid of local councillors will just mean even more centralised power and everyone getting less of a say in their local area. The problem with our local representatives isn't that they're just crap at their jobs, it's that pretty much everything they do is controlled by diktats from Westminster. Councillors have no real power at the moment. Our local votes should be the most important votes we cast because they should effect we the place we live in. Councillors should be able to make real decisions and be free to fully set local taxes and fully control their own budgets so we get a proper accountable local democracy. When half the money comes from central government it's easy to squander £8million on a new roundabout while our old folk are left alone in cold houses, sat in their soiled undergarments because Tory cuts in social services means no-one turns up to tend to their needs. If all that money had been raised locally then locally politicians would be a hell of a lot more conscious of the fact that genuine human need is considerably more important than people getting through a road junction 30 seconds quicker.[/p][/quote]The lack of understanding between a budget and running a service is astounding. While Westminster might provide funding, or not provide funding, the actual service is still run locally and it is Worcester City or CC that need to rework services if they cannot fund them. So blaming Westminster for someone not turning from up Worcester City/CC to provide a service is nuts. The local service heads have the responsibility to provide service or provide effective communication to those affected. Neither seem to be within the local Worcester City/CC capabilities! Guy66
  • Score: 1

3:24pm Sun 26 Jan 14

itshimself says...

Have the council really looked at how they manage their services as I would be surprised if they have! It seems strange to me that we have large container lorries, owned by both Worcestershire and Herefordshire councils running to and from the landfill sites 7 days a week! Are these council workers being paid extra time for working out of normal working week hours? In addition, the damage being done by theses lorries, which I am reliably informed each carry a minimum of 20 tons per trip, on local roads must be high and substantially adding to the already poor condition Worcestershire roads.
Have the council really looked at how they manage their services as I would be surprised if they have! It seems strange to me that we have large container lorries, owned by both Worcestershire and Herefordshire councils running to and from the landfill sites 7 days a week! Are these council workers being paid extra time for working out of normal working week hours? In addition, the damage being done by theses lorries, which I am reliably informed each carry a minimum of 20 tons per trip, on local roads must be high and substantially adding to the already poor condition Worcestershire roads. itshimself
  • Score: 0

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