Council sets out where axe will fall

Friday 22nd October 2010

By Scott McPherson, Swindon Advertiser

AS the dust settles on the biggest budget cuts in post-war history, Swindon Council has revealed where their axe could fall to bung a £20m blackhole in the next two years.

The council yesterday published its hit list which includes asking schools to buy back some services they want, scrapping some bus service subsidies, turning off 450 street lights, moving the Visitor Information Centre from Regent Street into the Central Library, charging for replacement recycling boxes, reducing the amount of money it hands out for allotments and start a tendering process for a range of services in the adult social care department.

As well as the cuts to services, the council will also shed a possible 237 jobs from all departments by the end of this year.

The council must find savings of £45m over the next three years owing to central government cuts, national budgets being slashed and a rise in demand for the services they provide.

Council leader Rod Bluh has now made a rallying call to the people of Swindon to carefully read through all of the cuts and savings proposals the council is suggesting and try to come up with ideas and solutions to the budget blackhole.

He said: “We’re all in this together and we all need to understand the challenge. We provide hundreds of services and if we are going to have enough money in future to support those who most need our help, it stands to reason that something else has to give.

The money just isn’t going to be there to keep doing everything we do now.

Even without the squeeze on grants and council tax income, and the fall in income from such things as parking charges and contributions from developers, the council would still be facing major financial hurdles.”

To see the proposals in full and a commentary from the lead member for finance at the council Mark Edwardes, go to http://www.swindon.gov.uk/budget2010 .

All comments and feedback can be submitted by e-mail to communications@swindon.gov.uk or by post to: Communications Service, Swindon Vborough Council, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH.

All comments should be submitted by Friday, November 19 in order to inform the discussions at the Cabinet meeting on November 24.

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