£93m cuts in Hampshire County Council's budget to be approved

Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Roy Perry

Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Roy Perry

First published in News

CUTS worth £93m are to be set today at Hampshire County Council.

Librarians, neighbourhood wardens and lollipop patrols are among those facing the axe as the county authority slashes its budget.

Tory council chiefs are set to put forward the budget plans at a full council meeting which will see 12 per cent shaved off department budgets in the next two years.

Under plans more than 277 full-time posts are expected to be cut by the end of this financial year as the local authority bids to save £43m.

But it is feared the total could be as much as 1,000 because the county council seeks to save another £50m next year.

The council leadership says it has no choice but to make the deep cuts, blaming the reducing Government grant which has shrivelled by 40 per cent over three years.

But unions say the council should dip into its £400million reserves to stave off cutbacks, while the opposition says the service reductions go too far.

Council leader Roy Perry said: “We’re largely seeking to address the reduction in Government grants by reorganising our back office functions and making efficiencies, and doing our level best to keep reductions in front line services to a minimum.

“We intend to freeze council tax for Hampshire, and that is a big contribution to help people’s budgets.

“It will be the fifth year in a row that council tax will not increase, while it means we have the lowest county council tax in the south east and the fourth lowest in the whole country.

“We regularly point out to the Government that Hampshire merits support and I can assure the opposition there is no reluctance to argue our case.”

Liberal Democrat opposition leader Keith House said: “The county council meets today in Winchester to decide on one of the largestever set of cuts to critical services.

“The Liberal Democrats will put forward innovate proposals to help save services and invest in the future.”

In their alternative budget, his party would safeguard the Accredited Community Safety Officers (ACSOs), which face being cut.

He added: “The Liberal Democrats will vote to save this vital resource from Conservative cuts.”

Cllr Tony Hooke, deputy leader of the UKIP county council group, said: “We are bitterly disappointed with the way that Hampshire residents are being treated.

“We have made it quite clear that we do not feel the county is safe with these additional cuts.

“Issue after issue will continue to blight this county until we can get sensible leadership.”

Tim Cutter, Hampshire Unison branch secretary, said: “Among the services they are closing are the ACSOs, who have just been working around the clock to help people with the flooding, so it’s a kick in the teeth for them.

“We think the cuts aren’t necessary, the council has more than £400million in reserves, so they should use some of the reserves to stave off the cuts.”

Comments (4)

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9:40am Thu 20 Feb 14

eurogordi says...

Council leader Roy Perry said: “We’re largely seeking to address the reduction in Government grants by reorganising our back office functions and making efficiencies, and doing our level best to keep reductions in front line services to a minimum.

It that were true, why are librarians, ASCOs and lollipop patrols among those being cut? None of these front line roles can be described as "back office".

I agree that HCC should be spending some of its reserves which have actually doubled in the last three years ... and perhaps one of the back office functions that should be cut is Perry and his councillor cronies.

Now that WOULD be a vote winner!!
Council leader Roy Perry said: “We’re largely seeking to address the reduction in Government grants by reorganising our back office functions and making efficiencies, and doing our level best to keep reductions in front line services to a minimum. It that were true, why are librarians, ASCOs and lollipop patrols among those being cut? None of these front line roles can be described as "back office". I agree that HCC should be spending some of its reserves which have actually doubled in the last three years ... and perhaps one of the back office functions that should be cut is Perry and his councillor cronies. Now that WOULD be a vote winner!! eurogordi
  • Score: 2

10:01am Thu 20 Feb 14

KingMawwaw says...

Leave the frontline staff and the reserves alone.

Cut the executive remuneration. Cut the bloated, wasteful internal projects that never deliver anything.
Leave the frontline staff and the reserves alone. Cut the executive remuneration. Cut the bloated, wasteful internal projects that never deliver anything. KingMawwaw
  • Score: 9

10:06am Thu 20 Feb 14

skeptik says...

Too many layers of political interference from parish council through many layers to the 800 plus lords and 649 MPs. We have 43 police forces, and many more county services that have huge armies of people - the more complex a command structure is ensures failure and costly failure too. Identify the task and plan to achieve it - once you have multiple over manned agencies we stop planning to achieve the task we spend time and money aiming to achieve a plan. Appoint a team and they will find things to complicate where no problem exists. A large axe is required.
Too many layers of political interference from parish council through many layers to the 800 plus lords and 649 MPs. We have 43 police forces, and many more county services that have huge armies of people - the more complex a command structure is ensures failure and costly failure too. Identify the task and plan to achieve it - once you have multiple over manned agencies we stop planning to achieve the task we spend time and money aiming to achieve a plan. Appoint a team and they will find things to complicate where no problem exists. A large axe is required. skeptik
  • Score: 2

10:49am Thu 20 Feb 14

Frogham Ferret says...

Didn't Councillor Perry's party raise their own expenses last year? How about giving some back?
Didn't Councillor Perry's party raise their own expenses last year? How about giving some back? Frogham Ferret
  • Score: 2

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