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£16.7 million more cuts coming to Sandwell Council

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Politics | Published:

Bosses at the cash-strapped authority have blamed a huge fall in Government funding.

Sandwell Council

Cash-strapped Sandwell Council has warned it must save more than £16 million by 2020 - on top of £50m that has already been cut since 2015.

Bosses said they were working to identify how they would balance the books, with planned spending for the next two financial years significantly above money coming in.

A total of £47 million has been saved over the last two years, with bosses blaming a huge fall in Government funding.

Another £16.7 million now needs to be saved by 2020.

Council leader Steve Eling insisted the authority was prepared for the savings and that frontline services would not be affected.

However, he said the council would look at bringing services, such as libraries, children's centres and community centres, under one roof in some areas to save money.

Councillor Eling said: "It is not as bad as it could be. In recent years we have had to save more than £16 million in one year.

"I am not fazed by this. Our medium-term budget continuity review and business planning can generate further efficiencies."

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He added: "We don't see services being closed, we haven't shut libraries in the past or children's centres.

"We are going to look at opportunities to further consolidate our buildings.

"If we have got two buildings providing different services in the neighbourhood centres, it could be delivered in one centre.

"It will enable us to achieve efficiencies without changing the services that are being delivered."

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Councillor Eling was adamant changes to bin collections, which have been proposed in other parts of the Black Country, would not be considered.

"We do not need to change the collection service people get to their homes," he said.

The leader of the Labour-controlled council insisted the problems the authority faces were down to the Government.

He said: "We are dealing with the situation as much as we can but every time something goes wrong the local authority gets the blame."

More than 1,000 jobs have been axed at Sandwell Council over the past five years as funding cuts have continued to bite.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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