Hundreds of jobs could be lost at Warwickshire County Council as part of cuts which will affect some of the most vulnerable people across the area.
The authority’s cabinet members are today (Thursday) voting on a new budget proposal to make savings from 2017/18 until the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
Under the plans, recommended by council officers, more than 300 people would lose their jobs, including 45 members of staff working in social care and support, 62 people from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service along with 54 from community services, 22 from children and families services and 31 from customer services.
On top of this, more than £14 million worth of cuts to adult social care have been proposed as part of the authority’s new plan to balance its books following “unanticipated changes in the allocation of government funding”.
Commenting before today’s meeting, Warwickshire Labour Group leader Cllr June Tandy said: “We are aware of the level of cuts that are required but we want to know where these cuts will be hitting the most vulnerable people. It is a matter of great concern.”
Due to ‘reductions in its Government grant, inflation and additional demographic pressures’ the council is having to make cuts of £67 million by 2020 and dwindling funds have led to the authority having to turn to its reserves to balance its budget for this financial year, meaning a rethink for the future.
Before the meeting t the Warwickshire Liberal Democrat group said none of its councillors would support the proposals for further £1 million cuts to children’s centre budgets or for £400,000 cuts to the fire service.
A statement from the group said it would not vote for proposals which would “damage our youngest and most vulnerable residents, and put communities at risk”.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “We’ve waited in vain for either Conservatives or Labour to tell us where their priorities lie, but on Thursday perhaps all will be revealed. We hope that both groups will be prepared to back our public stand in support of these vital services.”
Cllr Izzy Seccombe, the council’s leader, has said that members are “shaping the future of a very different authority and public service provision” over the next four years.
An online budget calculator was launched in September to allow people to ‘understand the scale of the financial challenge’.
Cllr Seccombe said: “We’ve already been through a difficult period and have made some difficult decisions. We haven’t shied away from these and I must pay testament to our staff who have stepped up to the plate, found solutions that have worked and delivered good services to support people in Warwickshire.”