Cuts facing Caerphilly council 'unprecedented', warns deputy leader
2:01pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in News
THE deputy leader of Caerphilly council has warned of unprecedented times facing the authority, after cuts to its budget were announced.
Councillors were told at a special meeting last week that they will have to make savings of £14.5m for 2014/15 with further additional savings of £6.5m required for 2015/16 and £7m for 2016/17.
Keith Reynolds said every area will have to be look at in great detail, but job losses would be a “last resort”.
Mr Reynolds said: “We have got some extremely difficult decisions to be making over the coming months. We’ll be having a critical examination of all the budget heads – there is nothing we can rule out.
“In over 30 years in local government, the only other time I can remember an actual cut in the budget was on local government reorganisation in 1996/97. These are unprecedented times for local government in Wales.
“Because schools are protected to a certain extent, it means we are a little more limited when you look at the other areas. So we’ll be looking at every single area there is – we’ll have to consider every possibility.”
Mr Reynolds said job losses would have to be considered, but insisted this would be a worst case scenario.
He added: “We will be doing all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies, but it’s difficult to say at the moment (if this is unavoidable). But it is absolutely the last resort.”
The Labour councillor for Aberbargoed has pleaded on council members to stick together during these harsh financial times, and has said he hopes political allegiances will not affect the decision-making process.
“I sincerely hope that this will be the case,” he added. “This is far, far too serious – it’s no time for party politics.
“People will have very strong views on different issues, but one of the things I’m extremely keen to do is to ensure all the 73 (council) members will play their part. We have never been in this position before.
“Savings of £14.5 million will have to be made in 2014/15, and the officers will be working extremely hard over the coming weeks.
“There will be a seminar on November 21 where we will produce a list of possible savings. We’ll then be having scrutiny committees who will then look at their respective areas in great detail.
“It’s the same for councils across Wales. We’ll be having discussions with the WLGA and will be having a conference on November 14. We’ll come together as local authorities and share our views on just how big the budget cuts are and how we are going to go about making savings.”
A special council will agree the budget for 2014/15 and a revised Medium Term Financial Plan in February next year.
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