Council departments face financial pressures as £50m budget cut is pushed through (From St Helens Star)
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St Helens Council departments face financial pressures as £50m budget cut is pushed through
1:00pm Friday 15th March 2013 in News
MASSIVE budget cuts will result in a recruitment drive for more foster carers to reduce the costs faced by St Helens Council of placing children in expensive residential care.
The move is just one consequence of a budget that has been set by the local authority to meet a £50m cut in funding by 2014/2015.
Councillors unanimously voted through this year’s budget in a meeting at St Helens Council last week, which will result in a 0.5per cent reduction in council tax.
Millions are being stripped from council departments, which have been tasked with making further efficiency savings.
It is expected to lead to further redundancies at a council that has shed more than 1,000 jobs over the past three years.
Children and Young Person’s Services must save £2.4m over the next two years. It will results in reviews of youth services, youth offending and working arrangements with partner agencies.
Ensuring the release of children from care as early as possible “while ensuring (their) safety” and increasing foster carers to reduce the number of “looked after children” are some of the areas where the council will look to make savings.
Adult Health and Social Care will have to save £4.7m by 2015, which will lead to a wide-ranging review of services, including transport, the criteria for awarding short term breaks and respite, voluntary sector funding, day services and high cost care packages.
One department hit by the economic woes has been Urban Regeneration and it must find savings of £2.462m in the next two years.
A drop in revenue for on-street parking means it must set a “more realistic level” of income.
The library service, planning, events and leisure are all under review. Nineteen vacant posts will be deleted, saving £622,000.
Elsewhere, £2m has to be saved in Environmental Protection, which has resulted in reviews of rubbish collections, the ranger service, recycling, trading standards and community safety.
It is likely to lead to a reduction in inspections by watchdogs and patrols by rangers.