NO nasty surprises will be in store at Worcestershire County Council – despite £98 million of cuts having to be made by 2017.
That’s the vow from the cash-strapped authority’s leader, who says taxpayers and staff deserve to be given clear details about where the axe will fall well in advance.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, who is facing the biggest challenge of his political career, has penned a yearly report about the state of play.
The address warns about the perils of fudging difficult decisions.
The council has already made a list of cuts public, including at least 600 job losses, £29 million off adult social care, turning off street lights after midnight and the scrapping of funding for 88 bus routes.
Coun Hardman said although the cuts may be unpopular, it is better than avoiding making decisions because they are tough.
Between April this year and the spring of 2015 just under £30 million will be slashed from spending, a record amount, but Coun Hardman said it was better than targeting a lower amount and having to announce nasty surprises at a later date.
He says Worcestershire must learn lessons from other councils such as Wolverhampton, which has announced a freeze on all spending unless it is deemed “essential”.
He said: “It is clear that the need to reduce the budget deficit is not going to go away and the pressure that we are under is tightening if we wish to continue to target our support at the most vulnerable.
"I am determined we’ll not become like some councils who are having to freeze all ‘in year’ spending and make budget cuts in an attempt to balance their books.”
The report has been rubbished by Councillor Peter McDonald, leader of the opposition Labour group, who said: “Services are being cut left, right and centre and people have had enough.”