Meeting will focus on Caerphilly services cuts

A SPECIAL cabinet meeting will be held by Caerphilly County Borough Council on Thursday to discuss budget cuts to the authority.

Caerphilly council needs to make savings of £14.53 million in 2014/15 as a result of the UK government’s austerity measures, with further additional savings of £6.54 million for 2015/16 and £7.06 million for 2016/17, amounting to £28.13 million over the next three years.

A budget strategy report to be discussed by members details a proposal for the next stage of the consultation period in respect of the budget for 2014/15 and the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).

Under the proposals outlined in the report, savings of £14.6 million will be made in the next financial year with the biggest cut of 4.9 million falling under the “corporate nature” category for the whole authority.

Cuts include a casual mileage rate reduction from 55p to 45p to all members of staff.

Elsewhere, proposals under social services include an increase charge for Meals on Wheels service by £1 per meal to £3.35, which will save around £80,000 in 2014/15, and a review of the number of social workers, saving 219,000.

The report says the savings proposals “will impact on staffing”.

Keith Reynolds, deputy leader of the council, has previously said that every area would have to be looked at in great detail, but job losses would be a “last resort”.

He also warned of “unprecedented times” facing the authority.

The report says: “Members are reminded that following the Local Government (LG) Provisional Settlement announced on October 16, it became apparent that the LG Community in Wales were about to face a severe period of austerity.

“In the next few weeks, it is important to focus on 2014/15 in the first instance, to ensure that the authority delivers this balanced budget and maintains its position and reputation for sound financial management and financial stability.

“It has been emphasised throughout the most recent seminars, scrutiny meetings and cabinet meetings that an ‘early start’ and an agreed ‘strategy’ is crucial to ensure that the authority can maintain financial stability and confidence in its ability to financially manage its way through this period of austerity.”

Last month, Caerphilly council launched a “major” consultation to encourage residents to have their say about the £28 million savings.

Visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/ccbcsavings to complete an online survey on the proposed cuts, or tell the council on Twitter by using #ccbcsavings.

The closing date for feedback is Friday.

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