Portsmouth: Budget Plans Announced

Budget proposals have been released by Portsmouth City Council's administration today.

It comes almost a month in advance of the Full Council meeting on 9 December when the 2015/16 budget is due to be discussed.

The document details how the administration proposes to make £13 million of savings the council needs to find.

Council Leader, Cllr Donna Jones, said: "For the first time, three of the political parties on the council are working together on a shared budget, joining forces for good of the city.

"No one wants to make cuts to council services but we have to take some very tough decisions this year because the scale of the savings we need to find is so significant. Our Government funding has been cut by a third since 2010. We need to find £37 million of savings over the next three years from the £211 million budget that we control, and that's on top of the £61 million the council has already saved in the last four years.

"We are releasing the information today, almost a month before the Full Council meeting when budget decisions will be made, because we want to make sure people have enough time to consider our proposals.

"We have already carried out a budget consultation that asked people to comment on possible ways of making savings, as well as the areas that are most important to them, and we've received a fantastic number of responses. We have taken the views of residents, businesses and staff into account when putting our proposals together."

Almost 2,500 residents and staff took part in the budget consultation and the responses have been considered in putting proposals together. As a result of feedback, cuts to grants to the Kings Theatre, New Theatre Royal and Aspex Gallery have not been included whereas areas where respondents indicated they would be prepared to accept reductions, such as footcare services, have been included.

Respondents were also asked whether charges should be introduced as an alternative to cutting services and, as a result, charges for bulky waste collections are included in the proposals, along with plans to develop a charging scheme for residents' parking.

If agreed, it is estimated the proposals will result in fewer than 90 redundancies.

The full savings proposals are due to be considered by the Cabinet on 4 December and by Full Council on 9 December.

The full proposals are available online by visiting the Portsmouth City Council website and searching 'budget proposals'.

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