DEVASTATING £140m cuts to council services can be revealed by The News today.
In its attempts to balance its budget for 2019, Hampshire County Council is proposing a series of drastic cuts and changes to services that will see the authority save a total of £480m across 11 years.
We are scratching our heads trying to save this money and we will continue to speak to the government so they aware of the implications that these cuts will haveCouncillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council
Papers seen by The News for a series of crunch meetings next week detail the extent to which the authority is to slash the budget for services with up to 105 full-time jobs at risk.
Under the proposals, bus subsidies and funds for community transport services are set to be scrapped and up to half of the council’s 26 household waste recycling centres could be closed.
Library services across the county could also be handed over to be run by community groups, home to school transport would be removed for 16-plus pupils with learning disabilities and the authority is also aiming to reduce a total of 410 children in its care by 2021.
Extensive details on culture, transport and children’s services have been revealed while more information on the cuts’ effect on other services such as adult social care are expected today.
The council’s Tory leader Councillor Roy Perry said making the cuts was ‘not something we are relishing.’
He told The News: ‘We are scratching our heads trying to save this money and we will continue to speak to the government so they aware of the implications that these cuts will have. This is just one step in the process and no decision has been taken.’
Cllr Perry pointed to the phasing out of the revenue support grant for authorities from central government by 2020 which previously assisted councils with more funds.
Up to 105 jobs could be axed across the council’s transport and culture services with the authority’s children services also facing a staffing review.
Cllr Perry added: ‘We now have to consider radical ways of making ends meet and inevitably this will involve changes to services and further reductions in our workforce.’
Veteran Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Chegwyn said the cuts were the worst he had seen since being elected to the council in 1985.
He said: ‘We knew these cuts were coming but these proposals are utterly devastating. It seems the chickens have now come home to roost.
‘For a long time, the Lib Dems have told the Tory administration that there was a bomb waiting to explode and here it is. With upping council tax, this will mean an increased cost of services while delivering them at a reduced quality. This will cut services to the absolute bone.’
Full proposals will be discussed by cabinet in October before being presented to full council in November.
Less than one per cent of the county’s population took part in the consultation, more on this here.