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Wolverhampton council boss: £25m cuts backed 'with deep regret'

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Plans to make up to £25m of cuts at a city council have been backed - with finance chiefs apologising for the pain it may cause.

Wolverhampton City Council is making £123m of cuts over the next five years.

And it has outlined a series of proposals - still subject to consultation and full council approval- to save up to £25m in 2015 to 2016.

Finance boss Councillor Andrew Johnson last night told a cabinet meeting: "We do not wish to do this because they go to the heart of the services we provide to the public but they are the direct result of unprecedented cuts in Government grants to this council.

"Those grants for 2015/16 have almost been reduced by half and the council will have to reduce what it spends by a third. This is not the result of savings this council wants to make.

"We have no choice if we want to balance the books.

"But we do this with deep regret because no part of the council is left untouched by the savings we are being forced to make."

The latest proposals include charging for some exhibitions at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, cutting £100,000 of funding from Blakenhall Community and Healthy Living Centre while trying to save £230,000 on food waste collections by negotiating a new deal with contractor Amey.

There are also plans to overhauling short break respite care for adults to save £100,000, cut £199,000 from the Old Tree Nursery garden centre which is staffed by adults with learning disabilities and axe the city's 18 remaining neighbourhood wardens.

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Around 2,000 jobs are having to be axed at the council over the next five years.

But when its budget for the next 12 months was drawn up it still had to find £59m of those cuts, despite having already reduced opening hours of libraries and shutting most of its youth clubs in a series of controversial measures.

The council wants to find £25m of those savings in the 2015/16 financial year but Coun Johnson warned that they are still be £6.9m short of the target even if all the latest suggestions are introduced from April of next year as proposed.

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