Council chief’s warning as Sunderland copes with £36million more cuts

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COUNCIL chiefs are set to reveal proposals on how they will balance next year’s books in the face of £36million of funding cuts.

Sunderland City Council’s ruling Labour cabinet will meet next Wednesday to discuss proposals for the council’s revenue budget for 2015/2016.

The council has cut more than £170million of spending in the last five years. The requirement for the next financial year is £36million.

The revenue budget is spending on council’s ongoing costs, such as education, social care, bin collections and lifeguards.

Details of the provisional capital budget – spending on new projects and buildings – and council tax are due to be announced at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 11 February.

The budget is due to be decided at a full meeting of the council on Wednesday 4 March.

Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s Cabinet Secretary, said proposals would focus on protecting frontline services while making savings, re-commissioning services, reprioritising spending, better working with other organisations and further measures to maximise income.

“It is clear that as more cuts are required the ability to protect frontline services and deliver even statutory functions is becoming increasingly difficult. More radical change will be needed along with even more targeted use of the money available,” he said.

“The council’s role will increasingly need to shift from delivering services to enabling individuals, communities and other organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to work together to address the needs of the city in new ways and encourage people to be more self-supporting.

“Despite repeated claims that local government financial settlements are fair to everyone, Sunderland and other similarly deprived authorities are seeing disproportionate funding cuts and this results in higher impacts upon our communities.”