Final call for views on annual council budget proposals for Leeds
The public consultation on how Leeds City Council can save £76.1million in next year’s budget comes to an end this week.
The one-month consultation period asking residents to have their say through www.leeds.gov.uk/budget finishes this Sunday (January 18). Already 400 responses have been received with the budget webpage being viewed by more than 4,500 people.
The consultation on the 2015/16 budget is taking place against the backdrop of warnings by respected organisations such as the Office for Budget Responsibility and the National Audit Office about the impact of ongoing national austerity measures. Leeds City Council has already had to save £248m since 2010, with further cuts to core government funding and cost pressures meaning an additional £76.1m needs to be saved in the next financial year.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:
“I’d like to thank those who have taken part in the public consultation so far, but this year more than ever we need people to tell us what they think so I would appeal to as many residents as possible to get involved.
“There is no escaping that this year will be the toughest budget yet in terms of the decisions we face. With warnings from the National Audit Office about the impact of the continuing cuts on local government and the Office for Budget Responsibility saying public spending could be reduced to 1930s levels, all council services are now under review including those for our most vulnerable residents sadly.”
The initial proposals include council housing rent increases of 2.88 per cent, fees and charges across the council to increase by at least inflation, a six per cent reduction in roads maintenance, leisure centres and council contact centres to operate reduced opening hours, nursery fees up 5.1 per cent and grants to the third sector to be reduced including a 20 per cent drop for arts organisations.
The council itself is to continue to get smaller, with a reduction of a further 475 full-time equivalent (fte) staff by April 2016 taking the number of staff to have left the council to 2,500 since 2010.
The full initial budget proposal report can seen at http://bit.ly/1qpW2kq. The final budget will be confirmed at the full council meeting on Wednesday 25 February.
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