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Southampton City Council gives epic budget cuts the green light
Updated 10:12am Wednesday 5th February 2014 in News
More than £14m of cuts in Southampton have moved a step closer to reality.
Labour council chiefs’ budget for 2014/15 has cleared its final major hurdle before potential approval next week.
The council’s Cabinet has given the budget the green light, and the full council will now decide whether to approve it next Wednesday.
As previously revealed in the Daily Echo, council chiefs unveiled their latest budget for the city in November, with the final proposals being published last month.
The axe will fall on almost 100 jobs as part of the £14.4m cuts, which are part of £30m in overall savings.
Council tax is set to rise by 1.9 per cent, while the City Patrol service will be scrapped, trading standards will be scaled back and hours cut at the Tudor House museum.
And the city’s libraries face an uncertain future after it was announced they would undergo a 12-month review.
Consultation was carried out by council bosses before the final proposals were published last month, and they say two jobs in the museums and galleries education team have been saved as a result, while parking charges will be frozen across the city for the next three years.
Many of the savings in this year’s budget was made through “efficiencies” across all of the departments, cutting down on unnecessary costs including everything from photocopying to being more energy-efficient. Last night the Cabinet unanimously approved the budget, meaning it only needs approval from the full council next week to come into effect from April 1.
But opposition politicians have warned that next year could be worse, with the authority looking at having to make “in excess of £30m” of savings for 2015/16.
They say they fear cherished services across the city may now be threatened as Labour bosses have fewer places to find savings.
Conservative opposition leader Royston Smith had described this year’s budget as “the calm before the storm”, while Putting People First councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas warned that there was a “financial tsunami” facing the city next year.
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