More cuts to come as Warwickshire council’s fund is slashed

Funding SUS-151222-170929001
Funding SUS-151222-170929001

Warwickshire County Council is facing a fresh financial crisis after another cut in Government funding could create a £22.8 million budget shortfall in the next two years.

Council leader Izzi Seccombe has written to the Government urging it to reconsider and setting out the impossible situation which lies ahead after five years of austerity and sweeping cuts to services.

Since 2012, the council has slashed its budget by £98 million in a hit to frontline service.

But is now facing a “worse” situation than that outlined in December after news that the Government has changed the way it distributes one of its main funding streams - Revenue Support Grant (RSG).

A shortfall of £11.5 million is expected for the coming financial year - with this figure rising to £22.8 million by April 2018.

Cllr Seccombe said: “We are faced with a reduction of 33 per cent in our revenue support grant before 2017.”

The Tory councillor added:“We are already planning to make £16 million of savings next year, including significant cuts to frontline services.

“We are now faced with finding further spending reductions and still need to raise council tax by four percent.

“We are faced with an additional and completely unexpected additional reduction of £5 million bringing our total reduction in RSG to £19 million.

“The spending review leaves us facing real difficulties in providing adequate social care services. We call on the Government to reconsider the proposals.

A council report showed that of £96 million of new savings now required by 2020, only £37 million has been planned for.

It is expected that the shortfall will hit services such as transport the hardest.

The council is expected to raise council tax by four per cent to help balance figures.

By April, unearmarked service reserves are forecast to be £31.6 million. The council proposes to take 17 per cent of this (£5.5 million) to balance the budget for the coming financial year.

A more detailed report on plans for savings will be made to the cabinet on February 18.