WALTHAM FOREST: Council tax freeze to lead to job losses (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Council tax freeze to lead to job losses
A COUNCIL tax freeze means Waltham Forest Council will have to raise £10 million by cutting jobs and outsourcing services.
But ruling councillors have promised frontline services will not suffer.
Draft budget proposals include large savings in every council department in order to keep the local levy the same, a move supported by all three of the authority’s political parties.
A total of £1.7m will be cut from adult social care, including £497,000 saved by reducing staff as part of a government drive to personalise services.
Planned cost-cutting in the housing department will result in an unspecified number of job losses.
The management of council buildings and facilities will be outsourced, leading to likely redundancies.
The proposals, which will go before cabinet on Tuesday (12) and will have to be agreed by full council, aim to “ensure value for money”.
Most of the proposed increases in residents’ fees and charges are kept slightly below inflation at 1.5 per cent.
Most annual parking permits for controlled parking zones will increase by 1.5 per cent for the first holder in a household but are frozen for second and third holders.
Owners of heavy-polluting vehicles will face larger increases of between 2.9 and 11 per cent.
Parking fines will increase from £100 (£50 if paid within a fortnight) to £120 (£60 within a fortnight), bringing in an estimated £500,000.
Penalties for littering, flytipping and noise pollution will all increase.
Cllr John Macklin finance cabinet member and Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The savings are all in back office functions, public services will not be affected.”
He added that the proposed savings have yet to all be agreed by his group.
Cllr Matt Davis, Conservative group leader, said the budget is “piecemeal” and lacks vision.
Regarding the cuts to adult social care, Cllr Davis said: “This is the ultimate proof that the so-called ‘personalisation’ agenda is nothing of the sort, it is simply cuts at the expense of vulnerable people.”
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