Care homes and bin collections 'at risk from budget cuts' in Flintshire

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan

CARE homes and regular bin collections could be at risk with the council’s budget set to be ‘cut to the marrow’.

Flintshire Council’s cabinet met yesterday to discuss the Welsh Government settlement which will affect their budget for 2018-19.

The authority is bracing itself for a £1.7 million reduction, almost one per cent and the second highest cut in Wales.

It now looks to make up a £13.6m funding gap for that year – higher than the £11.7m previously expected.

Chief executive Colin Everett said: “The scale of and the challenge of this budget is one we have never faced before.”

Leader Cllr Aaron Shotton and deputy Cllr Bernie Attridge spelled out the dire consequences the cuts might have on residents across the county, and urged them to call on politicians to fight Flintshire’s corner in Westminster and Cardiff.

Cllr Shotton said: “I share in the anxiety and concern of everyone at the situation our council faces and the impact on services we can provide.

“We have a duty to provide for the needs and demands of our local people but the Government have a role to fund us properly, and the idealogical Tory attack on public services mean we are unable to do so.”

Cllr Attridge said: “Any influence we have got we need to make clear to our MPs and AMs that if we don’t get any help, it means devastation – care home closures, four weekly bin collections – that’s no way to go if we don’t get any help.

“Our representatives in Cardiff need to know the exact position we find our council in, making severe cuts to stuff we didn’t come into local government to do.”

Sealand councillor Christine Jones said the savings the council was being asked to make were “appalling” and she would “fight tooth and nail to keep our care homes open”.

Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell added: “There is no end to this (austerity) and the feeling in government seems to be that we can cope because we have been able to keep the show on the road.

“But we’ve been cut to the bone and we are down to the marrow now.”

The Welsh Government settlement is expected on December 20.

Flintshire Council chief executive Colin Everett and leader Cllr Aaron Shotton are currently touring the county on a series of consultation events, to discuss plans for the next five years and financial challenges with residents and businesses.

Later in the meeting, when members looked at a strategic review of the care sector, Cllr Shotton said the authority would “stand in defence of our care homes” and that “some things are worth dying in a ditch for”.

Mr Everett added that even if the council did not have its three care homes, it would still have a duty to provide care to those residents by other means.

Email:

rory.sheehan@nwn.co.uk

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