Cumbria County Council announces budget plans

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Cumbria County Council could have to make cuts of more than £20m next year, the authority has announced.

Savings of £18m have been identified but other services could be affected if the option of a £2m government grant to freeze council tax is taken.

The council said a 2% rise in rates could raise £4m while accepting the grant would mean additional cuts.

Council leader Eddie Martin said the task of "squeezing down costs" was getting "even harder".

Highways jobs axed

A consultation on the proposals will run until 31 January and Mr Martin said it was vital council tax payers had their say on the plans.

"At a minimum we have to save another £18m, probably more", he said.

"We've pulled together proposals to achieve that but we need to know what the public think."

Around £3m could be saved by axing jobs in the highways department and bus fares on council services will go up.

Children's services would also be hit with reductions in careers services and activities for young people.

The council also plans to pass on responsibility for school crossing patrols.

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