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Leader admits funding cuts will force Lichfield District Council to evaluate affordability of services

The leader of Lichfield District Council has warned the authority will need to look hard at the services it can afford to deliver once the extent of Government funding cuts are revealed.

Local authorities are bracing themselves for further reductions in the money they receive when George Osborne makes his intentions clear next month.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox admitted Lichfield District Council already has a funding gap of around £440,000 next year – and warned that the number was likely to get higher.

“We know we’ve got a funding gap of that size, increasing to over a million a year after,” he said. “We’ll probably need to find another £500,000 from somewhere over the next 12 to 18 months too.

“Until we get the figures from the Treasury we won’t know for certain, but we’re anticipating it.

“Our Fit for the Future programme will continue to look at the services we deliver. Big reviews are already going on in areas such as leisure, parks and waste to see whether we can deliver them differently or someone can deliver them on our behalf.”

A recent report said the council faced “severe” financial risks, despite its Fit for the Future initiative finding £1.8million of savings.

Cllr Wilcox said the local authority will need to look hard at how to balance the books once the scale of the next round of Government funding cuts becomes known.

“Obviously, we’re going to see a reduction in funding,” he said. “Once we know the numbers, we will reevaluate what we do and whether we can afford to keep doing everything we currently do for the public in Lichfield and Burntwood.”

Cllr Sue Woodward, the Labour group opposition leader at Lichfield District Council, has recently warned that the Government couldn’t rely on charities and voluntary groups to pick up the slack when local authorities cut back services.

“There is a misunderstanding on this idea of the Big Society,” she said. “There seems to be an idea that somehow you can get the voluntary community to deliver services and it can be done on the cheap – but that’s not the case.”

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  1. Jen

    2nd July, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Well said Cllr Woodward.

  2. Rob

    2nd July, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Just spend taxpayers money on mandatory essential servces.