Kent

Job cuts as Kent County Council sets budget

Up to 400 jobs will go at Kent County Council (KCC) over three years and council tax will increase by 1.99% next year after budget plans were approved.

The authority is aiming to save £83.1m in 2015-16, with the most significant savings in adult and children's services.

The council said Kent's government grant had fallen by more than £55.5m.

Under consultation, 75% of people who took part said they would agree with a rise in council tax, KCC said.

Leader of the Conservative-run council Paul Carter said the budget protected frontline services, delivered significant investment in schools' facilities, brought further efficiencies and also improved the way the authority supported the elderly and vulnerable.

He said the budget was "right and appropriate" in an era of austerity when the council had received reduced grants and many of its services were demand-led.

'Unfair budget'

Liberal Democrat leader Trudy Dean said she supported changes to adult and children's services, which would mean more elderly people would stay at home and more children would stay with their families.

But she said there was a big question mark over whether those changes could be delivered.

Labour group leader Gordon Cowan said since the coalition government was elected this was the fifth budget where Kent had faced "massive cuts".

He said: "Every year, a budget that increases the council tax to the people of Kent but reduces the services delivered - that is unfair."

UKIP leader Roger Latchford said his party was particularly concerned about cuts to adult services and services for the elderly.

He also said nobody wanted to see jobs lost.

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