Flintshire Council's spending cuts plan revealed

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FLINTSHIRE Council is bracing itself for a massive programme of cuts and job losses, the Leader can exclusively reveal.

Details of the three-year Flintshire Futures plan, revealed in a leaked report, show nearly £10 million of savings need to be found in next year’s budget with further cuts expected over the following two years.

It is believed up to 100 posts are at risk in 2011/12, but council bosses say a proportion of these will be empty vacancies that are not filled.

Proposals to increase and roll out car parking charges, close or hand over control of public toilets to community councils and reduce delegated school budgets have also been revealed.

Cuts could also be made to music services within the education authority, youth club premises and a reduction in the number of council buildings.

Proposals outlined by the council to save money include reviewing and redesigning services, reducing management overheads, vacancy control and increased regional collaboration with other local authorities.

There are more than 100 measures outlined under the plan.

Measures in school transport, school improvement, library, community services and leisure and environment budgets have also been proposed.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s draft budget is due on November 17 while Flintshire Council will find out its provisional settlement, which accounts for 80 per cent of its funding, from WAG six days later.

It is expected that capital funding will be reduced by 10 per cent for three years and specific grants could be significantly cut back.

Flintshire Council’s initial budget will be put before the executive in December.

Colin Everett, chief executive of Flintshire Council said: “The papers are work in progress for options for budget reductions and service changes. They are not formally approved as options and are for internal use at this stage.

“The council has been consistent in predicting that it will need to reduce revenue costs by £10-13m in 2011/12 and in previous statements and public meetings, such as the meeting of the County Council on September 7, has explained that it is reviewing budget reductions of between 5-10 per cent in all service areas for 2011-12 alongside efficiency measures including reductions in management costs, organisational overheads and vacancy management.

“We have already reduced annual management costs by over £1m, managing our workforce costs, and improving productivity.

“We are still considering options and proposals but the likelihood is that we could lose up to 100 posts by 2011/12 however it is important to emphasise that quite a number of these are posts that have been held back and will not impact on individuals.

“The council is also working on major change projects locally and in collaboration with its regional partners to protect and improve services whilst reducing the costs of providing them in the longer-term.

“The work in progress identifies budget options of close to £10m for 2011/12 as per the predicted loss in council revenue as a result of the comprehensive
spending review.”

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