Dorset

Council to ask residents what services should be saved

A council plans to ask residents what important services they want to keep as it struggles to make further savings of more than £3m this financial year.

The Borough of Poole's budget for 2010/11, agreed in February, had initially identified savings of £4.2m.

But it now says the £2.9m cut in government funding plus an increasing demand on services has brought the savings total to £8.4m for this year.

It added that the cost for children and adult social services rise annually.

Public involvement

Council leader Brian Leverett told BBC Radio Solent: "It's very serious.

"Demographic pressures look like putting an extra £1m of costs on top - because we are having to pay for more people who are entering nursing homes without enough money to fund themselves and other social services they need.

"We could fund this year's shortfall out of our reserves but then we would have no reserves left for the following year.

"Our main focus, both now and in future years, is to protect frontline services."

He added: "We are going to ask the public what they consider to be the most important services they want to keep.

"It could mean all areas of the council's work - such as education, social care, roads, rubbish collection and libraries - facing a drastic squeeze."

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