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County's cash woes in the spotlight - live
This live event has finished
- TODAY the future of Worcestershire County Council’s budget will be debated by politicians – and you can follow it live here.
- County Hall is attempting to save up to £90 million by 2015 under a controversial scheme called BOLD, which stands for Better Outcomes Leaner Delivery.
- But bosses have published a draft budget which forecasts even more problems on the way – with a funding gap of £17.7m potentially opening up by 2016, on top of the cuts already planned.
- The budget will be discussed in a meeting at 2pm, followed by a Q&A with the media, and we will be Tweeting live from the debate.
- Do you have any views on the matter? Tell us in the comment box below.
Thanks to all our readers for following the live updates today - see tomorrow's Worcester News for more— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
5:31pm Wed 17 Oct 12
The whole lot of them should be sacked!! I am a resident in Hartlebury and we are fighting a monstrous incinerator in the green belt which could cost Worcestershire's council tax payers in excess of £500m over the next 25 years.The County Council STILL have not worked out where the money is going to come from to pay for it and even the Audit Commission have raised concerns on the value for money and the potential restrictive contractual clauses.
Is this PFI going to be another hospital scenario ? How many more jobs have to be lost and services cut before the County Council wake up and realise they SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD IT !!!
See tomorrows Worcester News for the full story— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The county council say BOLD could climb to over £100 million and that more jobs will go on top of the 857 originally earmarked— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Just to wrap up, the Q and A has now ended - the key point is that old saving targets and cuts of £90 million is now unlikely to be enough..— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
RT @HJMKent: @tomedwardsWN Then why won't he have proper dialogue with Friends of Kidd Library Gallery to save unique space - hollow promise! @SaveKLG— @SaveKLG 17 October 2012
Tom is behind closed doors for a while for a Q&A session, then he'll be heading back to the office to type up his article from the meeting. Be sure to grab the Worcester News tomorrow to get the full report!
In the meantime we'll leave this article live for a little while in case he wants to add anything to it when he returns... whenever that may be.
@tomedwardsWN 'Listening Ears'? Has she been watching The Thick Of It?— @TheDanWatson 17 October 2012
@tomedwardsWN A bit like WCC's usual lack of rational thinking then!— @HJMKent 17 October 2012
We're now having a Q and A for the media in private— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The meeting has now ended!— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Trish Haines makes a good point saying the council spends over £300 million a year on the economy— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
They are now talking about preparations for next year's budget and a series of staff and public roadshows planned for November— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
@tomedwardsWN denier, not sceptic— @philrandal 17 October 2012
@tomedwardsWN That mail article has been refuted - http://t.co/LtgiorcE— @philrandal 17 October 2012
The big red herring about this whole debate is how to plug a funding gap that appears to be over £22 million, regardless of BOLD....— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The debate is tending to lurch all over the place....— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He's a climate change sceptic, as you can tell...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He cites a Mail On Sunday article saying there's been no overall increase in temperature during the last 16 years— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Ken Pollock says he doesn't share the leaders enthusiasm for climate change - classic Ken...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Adrian Hardman says saving on emissions, C02 levels etc is important— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Believe it or not, they are now touching on the subject of climate change...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Adrian Hardman then says there has been encouraging signs from parish councils on it— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Pollock says he likes the idea of localism but there's a lot of work ahead to make it work...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He says "I don't think you can assume this is going to be easy"— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He says some "hand holding" needs to go on to make it work— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
@tomedwardsWN Cllr Hardman said at roadshow in Kidd 4 months ago, WCC only had to provide statutory services - everything else under threat!— @HJMKent 17 October 2012
Trish Haines says the scrutiny set up at County Hall is one of the "listening ears" at the authority— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The environment is a major part of the council's thinking going forward— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
After all, renewable energy and the like is quite a growing industry...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
@tomedwardsWN Then why won't he have proper dialogue with Friends of Kidd Library Gallery to save unique space - hollow promise! @SaveKLG— @HJMKent 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman takes a swipe at other councils all trying to say "we are the green economy" at the same time..— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Investment, contracts and economic growth— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
That comment ties in with the authority's "open for business" agenda, which is all about working the the private sector and encouraging...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Adrian Hardman says the councils reputation and national profile needs to be improved— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The financial figures are expected to get worse in the autumn statement in December - that view mirrors what is being said now daily— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Come to think about it, I'm surprised too....— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman says he was equally surprised children's activities came out most important in a survey...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Andy Roberts asks his party leader to elaborate more on the risks ahead..— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Andy Roberts says he is "bemused" at surveys showing people in Worcestershire care about children's activities the most— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
I say this debate is better than any England match. Bar Holland in 1996.— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Trish Haines says "we will continue to meet people's needs" but that in some cases it may be in a different way— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
She says adult social care is a concern looking at the savings bosses hope to make— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
She says done cuts could be seen very much as "salami slicing"— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Mandy Bunker tries to focus the debate on learning disability services and how that could be impacted— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
In other words, they are confident BOLD is going well and is on track in the great scheme of things— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
She also says some savings are 'at risk' but they are flexible in looking around at where reductions can be made...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Chief executive Trish Haines says nothing is set in stone if it proves unpopular or unworkable - a street lighting cull was scrapped etc— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Tom Wells, Lib Dem group leader now speaks and opens up questions from cllrs— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
That's quite a bold statement if you will excuse the pun— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman also says he is determined EVERY service will go through "the commissioning cycle" to see if it can be provided elsewhere— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman says "there's no doubt we will be a smaller organisation" as a result of the situation with a smaller head count— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He then says BOLD has been of real interest to the press but he's found the staff don't talk about it as much...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman says BOLD has been a rapid programme of change which has "in affect been running the organisation"— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
BOLD is a five year plan to 2015 which attempts to save up to £90 million, as many of our readers will know— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
He praises BOLD, saying it has worked well— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman now shows the room a graph showing how the savings requirements have been going up "pretty relentlessly"— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The Medium Term Financial Strategy will also be refreshed, as we've alluded to today— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman also says the authority's corporate strategy will be refreshed in January— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Cllr Hardman says IT and other modern technology like the iPhone could transform council services - Apple would like that one— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
The meeting is underway and Adrian Hardman, county council leader is talking— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
But it's based on the usual assumptions on Government funding much like the situation Worcester City Council finds itself in....— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
Thompson9100 - I wouldn't swap it for anything - it's the reports which really do uncover the best stories, in reality @worcesternews— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
11:55am Wed 17 Oct 12
Such a hard life, Tom. Just think if you were reporting for a national on politics how many reports you'd have to wade through. No pitty from me. Research is the backbone of good journalism.
I've had a look at the figures and the true funding gap is forecast to be around £22 million. The majority of that is based on 2016/17 year— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
I expect a fairly important topic today will be how far the council goes down the commissioning route...— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012
I've had to wade through a 252 page report ahead of this debate. Either pity or admiration is in order. The things I do for @worcesternews— @tomedwardsWN 17 October 2012