Tough decisions ‘inevitable’ as Sunderland’s leaders cope with £40million cuts

Coun Mel Speding.
Coun Mel Speding.
0
Have your say

Proposals to slash another £40million from Sunderland council budgets in the coming year will go before the ruling Labour cabinet next week.

Members will discuss the first and provisional revenue budget when it meets at the civic centre on Wednesday,.

Despite protecting people from the worst of the spending cuts over the last six years, it is inevitable that people are going to feel and notice changes to the services the council provides because of the cuts the council needs to make

Coun Mel Speding

Proposals of the capital budget and council tax levels are set to be announced next month.

The authority, which has already made cuts of £207million in the last six years, faces having to chop another potential £110million by 2020, including the £40million in savings it must find in 2016/17. Cabinet secretary Mel Speding said: “The council is continuing to review, remodel and redesign its services because of Government funding cuts and spending pressures.

“Despite protecting people from the worst of the spending cuts over the last six years, it is inevitable that people are going to feel and notice changes to the services the council provides, because of the cuts the council needs to make.

“While we’ve been consulting with the public on what they also see as priorities, there is no getting away from tougher and harder decisions because of the sustained reductions in Government funding.”

The council has already announced major changes to service delivery, and further proposals in the revenue budget include further transforming of services, maximising non-frontline savings, prioritising spend, reducing service standards and maximise income.

Examples include changes to highways maintenance, registrar’s fees, and reducing the cost of waste disposal through more recycling.

Coun Speding said the proposals aim to protect the key priorities, including protecting vulnerable people, community safety and economic regeneration and jobs.

“Every year there is less room to manoeuvre in the council’s budget.

“While the council focuses even harder on statutory and priority services, we also have to keep a focus on regeneration and attracting more wealth and investment to generate more wealth and jobs.”

The final budget meeting takes place on March 2.