Leicester

Leicestershire County Council to axe 700 jobs

Leicestershire County Council
Image caption The council says the current local government funding formula is "broken"

Plans to cut 700 jobs and increase council tax by almost 2% have been backed by Leicestershire County Council's cabinet.

The proposals will mean cuts in public services as the council aims to slash its budget by £81m over four years.

Byron Rhodes, deputy leader of the Conservative-led council, said the situation "will only get worse" unless grants were increased.

The final decision on the budget will be made by full council on 18 February.

'Absolutely dire'

Leicestershire is the third-lowest funded county council in England with £56 less in per capita grant funding than the average county council, Mr Rhodes said.

The council aims to make £35m in efficiency savings including making reductions in senior management and sharing services with other local authorities.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Simon Galton said: "The situation is getting absolutely dire - we can't continue with things as they are. We are being forced to make so many cutbacks that we soon will not be able to carry on running the county."

A report to the cabinet said the council faced "the most uncertain and risky financial environment for a generation".

The council will need to make major reductions to services to make up the shortfall from reduced government grants, the cabinet report said.

"The current system of local government finance is broken. It is not sustainable in the medium term as it needs a radical overhaul," the report added.

Saving and spending

Image caption The county council wants to replace 66,000 street lights at a cost of £25m
  • The council tax increase of 1.99% proposed for 2015-16 - the first rise in four years - will take the council's share of band D bills to £1,084
  • The proposals will cut £7.5m from the children's budget and over £11m from the adult and communities department
  • A £4.7m budget shortfall is likely by 2018-19 - down from £9m, due to extra council tax income
  • Not all the 700 redundancies will be compulsory as some staff are expected to leave voluntarily
  • The council will spend £25m to replace all 66,000 county council street lights with LED lighting, with annual savings of £2m

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