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

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.

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