18:19 Monday 16 December 2013

Worries over service cuts as council tightens its belt


A COMMUNITY leader in Burton has spoken of his concerns about the impact which £109 million of county council cuts could have on those living in the area.

Ron Clarke, who represents Burton Town division at Staffordshire County Council, said he did not see how the swingeing cuts announced by the authority recently could fail to hit people living in the town.

He told the Mail: “They say they are not reducing frontline services, and you have still got the facility, but it will be taking longer to get, so people are facing cuts.

“Any cuts to services are detrimental.”

Budgets are to be slashed in a number of areas, including care services, libraries and street lighting.

It has also been revealed that a number of youth centres could be closed, following a consultation due to be launched in the New Year.

A spokesman for the council said no decisions had yet been made over which of the county’s 38 children’s centres could be axed.

This £109 million is the latest in a series of cuts to be made by the authority, and will take place over the next few years.

The council made it clear that a widely publicised reduction in Government grant was the reason behind further budget-slashing, with leaders arguing they had to do something as the current position was untenable.

Councillor Clarke, a Labour politician, supported this position, adding: “It’s the dirty work of this Government imposing cuts on authorities so they are doing the dirty work in making cutbacks.”

The authority has pledged to put more money into services with increasing demand, including those supporting children in care and people with learning difficulties.

Changes will also be made to the way services are delivered, it says.

The Mail attempted to contact all other county councillors representing the Burton area, but most had not responded by the time the newspaper went to press.

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