£25m extra cuts on way at Sandwell Council

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Further cuts of up to £25million were today unveiled by Sandwell Council in moves that could see community centres close, parking charges increased and street lights turned off.

In addition to £75 million of cuts up to 2015, deputy leader and finance chief Councillor Steve Eling has revealed the authority is expecting the Government's Autumn Statement to confirm they need to save even even more by 2017.

And if the authority's forecasts are correct, they would be forced into more drastic cost cutting measures in a bid to save the borough's most crucial services.

Councillor Eling said: "It's difficult to see where we would be because we have not plotted that out.

"If it turns out to be what we're thinking it will be, we're talking about the closure of whole services.

"The £75 million was on the basis of the Government's own figures but is now looking like there's going to be another two years on top of that taking us up to £100m by 2017.

"It's the point where grass in parks stops being cut, community centres are shut and your street lights go off.

"We would need to have a serious look at how we can save things – see what can be paid for as opposed to what can be provided for free."

The council has already made a raft of cutbacks in a bid to balance its books.

But as he awaits the outcome of the Autumn Statement, Councillor Eling said the changes so far could be just the tip of the iceberg.

The projected cuts would have a massive impact on the borough, according to trade union Unite, which represents Sandwell Council workers.

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