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Shock at £3.8m Gloucester City Council budget cut proposals

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 11, 2013


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Organisations affected by a proposed £3.8m cut in Gloucester City Council’s budget say they were shocked to hear the proposals.

Council leader Paul James admitted the £3.86million savings his administration has proposed are going to go much deeper than “salami slicing”.

They will be made over the next two financial years – and could see £500,000 wiped off the grant support given to Aspire, the trust which runs GL1 leisure centre and Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre, while voluntary organisations would lose £100,000 of grant support.

Steve Elway, chief executive of Aspire, said: “We are very disappointed in the news. Over the past few weeks the City Council have raised the total savings required significantly to £500,000 over two years.

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“Aspire are working hard to find ways to achieve the £100,000 required for 2014/15, where the majority of savings may be achieved through a reduction in utility costs if a new Air Handling System can be procured and installed by March 2013 at GL1.

“As for the further £400,000 savings for 2015/16, our initial thoughts are that it cannot be achieved without a significant reduction in service.

“We are still in negotiation with the City Council, where we hope a more realistic saving total for 2015/16 can be agreed.”

A £90,000 cut in rent support for organisations such as the Gloucester Law Centre and Citizen Advice Bureau could leave them under threat.

Norman Gardner, bureau manager, said: “This has come as a shock, particularly as we were led to believe we were an important service the council was keen to support.

“Clearly a cut of this magnitude will be difficult for us to fill.”

Other tough measures include a 10 per cent hike in garden waste charges and slashing £250,000 each from the Gloucester Guildhall and the budget shared by the Folk and City museums.

There was some good news for taxpayers and motorists – Council Tax would be frozen for the fourth year in a row and car parking charges would not go up. The draft budget will need to be approved in the new year.

Mr James said: “We have already achieved £7.5million savings over the past few years. That’s a pretty substantial sum.

“Our challenge this time will be the much bigger savings coming in the following year. Are we a sustainable council if we don’t take radical decisions? I’d say no. We cannot just carry on salami slicing.”

In the firing line:

£500,000 cut to Aspire, which runs GL1 leisure centre and Oxstalls

£250,000 cut to the Gloucester Guildhall

£250,000 cut to Gloucester’s Folk and City museums

£1.5million cut to a contract with Amey, the firm which the city’s refuse and recycling collections, street cleaning and grounds maintenance

£100,000 grant support for voluntary groups slashed

£90,000 accommodation grants for groups such as the Law Centre and Citizens Advice Bureau axed

Garden waste charges to increase by around 10 per cent

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  • jas37  |  December 11 2013, 10:12PM

    Selina30- Who should be blame again, who got the Country into this mess?

  • Lecorche  |  December 11 2013, 10:31AM

    I'll only believe Paul James's crocodile tears when he cuts his own wages to help balance the books.

    |   5
  • The_Selector  |  December 11 2013, 10:11AM

    Paul James implies that the cuts already implemented have been 'salami-slicing', which is a total nonsense. Deep cuts have already been made internally at the city council, and now the external funding is next on the list.

    |   7
  • SELINA30  |  December 11 2013, 9:21AM

    "Garden waste charges to increase by 10 per cent." So their will be a rise in the council tax. Don't blame the Tory Council for these cuts blame the Tory government.

    |   6