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Hampshire County Council debates 12 per cent budget cut
REDUCED library services and community grants are among county council budget cuts coming under scrutiny today.
Under plans that could see hundreds of job losses, services will be hacked back yet again as county bosses bid to shave off 12 per cent from their budget.
As previously reported, Hampshire County Council is trying to save millions of pounds after the Government shrivelled its council grant by 40 per cent over three years.
County councillors on a committee will today examine part of the budget plans which involve reducing local authority spending on culture, communities and countryside.
Among the libraries expected to shed their staff for volunteers is Milford on Sea. If no one comes forward it faces closure and residents will have to make do with a weekly mobile library stop.
Yet mobile library vehicles could be reduced from five to three and the number of stops from 350 to 250.
A report also states that outdoor centres will face “back office staffing reduction” as part of a bid to save up to £50,000.
Another major proposal is to make Hampshire’s country parks financially self sufficient.
The five-year programme would see initial investment to provide a greater range of all year round facilities and activities to attract more people to the parks for more of the year and encourage return visits.
It is hoped this would lever further funding from public and private sector partners, alongside bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund, to total more than £13m.
Councillor Keith Chapman, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “These proposals present a range of ways in which we can help Hampshire’s cultural and recreation services remain viable in the long term.
“Over the past three years, Government grants to the council have been cut by over 40 per cent, and we are looking at further reductions beyond this year.
“It is, therefore, vital that we continue to explore ways in which we can continue many of these services.
“That is why we are proposing generating new revenue streams, increasing income where possible, and maximising the assets we have while continuing to examine more efficient and innovative ways of working.”
The budget will be agreed at a meeting of the full council on February 20.
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