Ealing Council To Cut £55m Over Three Years
Cuts in popular services but Council tax to be frozen
Job cuts, day centre closures and the loss of popular posts including park rangers and envirocrime officers have been agreed by Ealing councillors.
Over the next three years £55m will be cut from the authorities budget. £22.4m will be trimmed in 2011-12, bringing expenditure to £275m.
300 jobs will go and more are expected to be lost but the Labour-run council claims 119 new positions are being created.
Despite a tough government settlement which will see the council’s main grant cut by 20% over the next two years, councillors voted to freeze council tax bills for the third year running at last night’s full council meeting.
Ealing Council leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “With the cost of living rising, I am keenly aware that local people are having to stretch their finances.
“Sadly, the scale of government cuts are devastating and will mean we have to strip at least £55million out of our budgets over the next three years. But, we have planned properly and delivered a prudent budget to reduce costs while still delivering on the things that matter most to residents. Even in these times of austerity we must invest in the borough’s future.”
In addition to freezing council tax the council’s budget also sets out investments that include:
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for Finance and Performance, said: “Like other councils across the country our budgets are being slashed, and we are making some really difficult decisions while trying to limit the damage of these cuts to residents.
“By re-organising the way in which we work, seeking to share services and procurement, increasing our buying power, we are looking to drive down costs and increase efficiency. For example, the council is expecting to spend £1.27million less on buying adult social care services by negotiating contracts in partnership with other west London boroughs.”
Southfield Councillor Andrew Steed, Liberal Democrat Financial Spokesperson, said:
“The Liberal Democrats put forward an amendment to protect front-line jobs that the Labour party decided to cut. The Park Rangers and Enviro-crime Officers will help ensure that our parks and streets are cleaner and safer. The Liberal Democrat amendment would also mean that we would reduce our long-term debt. Quite simply it is a question of whether you want a car park that no-one seems to want to use, or Park Rangers that really look after our parks.''
The proposal was turned down.