Portsmouth City Council to decide on budget cuts

DECISION The Civic Offices in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth.   Picture: Sarah Standing (122581-4326)
DECISION The Civic Offices in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (122581-4326)
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan

Schools in Portsmouth ‘are so cash-strapped that teachers have to buy glue sticks and other materials’ says MP

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CITY leaders will meet later to discuss a swathe of proposed spending cuts.

Portsmouth City Council is looking to save a further £9m on top of an original £8m set of savings, agreed in December.

Councillors will consider whether to increase the council tax precept by 1.95 per cent following three years of freezes.

People living in properties listed in band D, valued as of April 1, 1991, wiould pay £1,384.16 in 2013/14 compared to £1,365.75

Councillors are considering a review of 16 children’s centres in the city in a bid to make a £1m budget saving.

Under the plans, several centres would be merged, leaving only nine centres behind.

Other proposed savings include transferring six of the city’s adventure playgrounds to the voluntary sector, saving around £100,000.

Street lighting hours could be reduced at night, while responsibility for lollipop patrols could be moved to individual schools.

Meanwhile, a counselling service for young people has appealed directly to city leaders to try to safeguard its future.

The Off The Record (OTR) service helps those aged between 11 and 25.

Its chairman, John Simmonds, has written to every Portsmouth councillor after a decision was taken to stop its funding and to raise the rent on its office in Fratton Road in 2014.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson has said ‘no-one’ at the council enjoys making cuts.

He told The News: ‘Everyone knows that because public spending has been cut local councils have to do their bit.

‘No one enjoys doing it.

‘It’s not what anyone became a councillor to do, to cut services.

‘The council has to operate a business and live within its means with the money available.’

Despite the tough financial situation, the council is still looking to pump millions into new capital schemes until 2018.

The schemes include handing the Kings Theatre in Southsea a £200,000 grant, refurbishing the tennis courts in Drayton Park, investing in revamping the facilities on Southsea seafront, increasing school places across the city, and a new library in Drayton

The full council meeting starts at 2pm at the council chamber in the Guildhall.