Budget plan at cabinet

COUNCIL bosses warn cuts to services are now “unavoidable” as they consider the latest round of budget savings.

Senior councillors will discuss the impact of slashing £69m from their budget over the next four years at Wakefield Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The council is now set to lose a further £14.2m in funding following the government’s announcement last month to axe more cash from authority budgets.

Coun Peter Box, council leader, said: “The council was already facing a huge financial challenge across the next few years on top of the £41m budget savings we have already made.

“However the government has now forced us into a position where we will have to spend 25 per cent less on the direct services we deliver to our residents.

“Our priorities must remain to protect the vulnerable and those most in need. But there is no doubt that tough decisions and significant changes to some services are now unavoidable.”

The council has already slashed £41m from its budget since 2010 and had aimed to save £54m by 2014/15.

But changes to the way authorities are funded – including providing lower grants to councils who implement a council tax freeze and changing the way business rates are distributed – mean Wakefield Council will now see a total reduction of 43 per cent in funding by 2016/17, taking the full amount of savings needed to £110m.

Coun Box added: “To ensure we can protect essential and major public services we must keep our budget financial plans under constant review.

“This becomes increasingly difficult when the government announce yet more cuts giving us little or no time to make plans to deal with them.”