A ‘PARTICULARLY difficult’ grant from government means Cheshire residents face inflation-busting increases in Council Tax and cuts in services.
The Tory administration is putting the final touches to its budget proposals for the council’s final year – two new councils for Cheshire East and Cheshire West will take over from 2009.
In a pre-budget briefing document to the county’s business leaders it was revealed that Cheshire’s grant from central government will increase by 2.2% (£2.1m) compared to a shire counties national average of 5.7%.
Alistair Jeffs, the council’s Policy Officer, told the business audience at Peckforton Castle on Thursday that because of increased legal duties and extra costs to help an ageing population, £11m was needed just to stand still.
He said that despite the financial pressures which present the County Council with difficult choices the authority was determined to minimise service cuts.
The pre-budget consultation document said that a major review is planned of the county’s supported bus services – promising significant cost savings and a “more stable public transport network”.
Other areas identified for possible cuts include:
Support for Special Education Needs.
Preventative services such as Family Support.
Library services to become ‘partnerships’ with local communities.
Grants to museums and arts organisations.
Grants to care and advisory organisations.
Day centre supported employment.
Business support front line services.
Reduction in consumer support.
Scrapping motor trader approval scheme.
Jeremy Taylor, the county’s Chief Executive, assured the business audience that the Cheshire authority would do everything it could to minimise disruption caused by local government reorganisation but some uncertainty was inevitable.
The budget proposals will be issued on February 14.