Cambridgeshire: Council Predicts More Cuts
26 September 2013, 06:18
Cambridgeshire County Council says it could be forced to stop maintaining some roads in future, due to savings it must make.
The authority has revealed that it believes it must now save around £159 million during the next five years.
It's due to reduced government funding.
The County Council Leader, Martin Curtis, is now writing to Prime Minister David Cameron pleading for more funding.
Councillor Curtis believes tough decisions lie ahead, telling Heart: "We're the fastest growing county in the country, so demand for the services we have to provide is going up.
So we have to serve more people with less money.
There are only two other County Councils in the country that have more to save than us as a proportion of their budgets during the next two years.
It's less money, and much more to do with that money.
The reality is we've done the easy stuff, and we've done absolutely everything the government has asked of us.
We've managed to stay within budget, we've delivered the largest public sector shared services organisation to help us save money, we're working with District and health colleagues trying to reduce the size of the local government estate.
We've done everything that's been asked of us, but we're being pushed to a point where it's becoming very, very uncomfortable now."
The Council will now look at cuts in services it legally doesn't have to provide, to save even more money.
Councillor Curtis added: "Most of our case load is about highways, about potholes and roads that need repairing.
However we don't legally have to do that.
So one of the things we must look at is what do we do there?
We have to say, actually, are there some roads in the County, that we just are not going to maintain?
If there are roads that are not well used, we have to ask, should we be repairing them?
It's that sort of thinking we must go through."
Meanwhile Cambridgeshire County Council has set up an online tool that residents can use to set the authority's budget for themselves.
It's hoped the 'You Choose' budget simulator will assist councillors in making decisions where to invest and save money.
Councillor Curtis concluded: "Councils across the land have some hard decisions to make and we want Cambridgeshire residents to have a big say in ours.
You Choose puts residents at the heart of the decision making, having to face the challenges we do to balance the budget.
No decisions have bean made at this point, but like last year, the suggestions and priorities indicated by residents will help shape the budget."