Another 1,000 Jobs Axed at Council ; Pounds 85m Spending Cuts Revealed in Budget ? Two per Cent Council Tax Increase Agreed ? Children's Social Care Is Given Pounds 9m Boost
neilelkestrinitymirrorcom, Neil Elkes, Birmingham Evening Mail (England)
BIRMINGHAM City Council has confirmed another 1,000 jobs are being axed to save money - taking its total workforce to 14,000 from 21,000 in just four years.
But struggling city households have been given a welcome boost with the news they will only have to find an extra Pounds 23 per year for their council tax, after the authority agreed a 1.99 per cent rise.
The increase was announced by the Labour Cabinet along with final proposals for the Pounds 85 million of spending cuts, including a likely 1,000 redundancies by 2015. The job losses will be made across the organisation, with almost every service and department making savings.
Only the crisis-hit children's social care department is being spared from cuts and will in fact see a Pounds 9.2 million budget increase.
Yesterday's budget announcement also saw confirmation that four community libraries are likely to close and that a free bulky waste collection has been withdrawn.
But there was brighter news for Friends of Parks groups and youth groups - as some threatened cuts were cancelled.
Council leader Sir Albert Bore said that during the budget consultation about twothirds of people had supported an increase of two per cent or higher in council tax to reduce the impact of cuts.
The rise, the first in three years, will see the average Band D bill, before fire and police charges, rise from Pounds 1,113 per year to Pounds 1,136.
But the city council gets just ten per cent of its income from council tax and is heavily dependent on Government funding.
Sir Albert Bore said that with Pounds 375 million cuts already made since austerity began in 2010, it was getting more difficult to make savings every year. Under his 'jaws of doom' analysis he expects the total cuts to reach Pounds 822 million by 2018.
He said: "The city council have been making radical changes to the way we work and achieving significant efficiency savings for several years, under both this political administration and the last.
"We have reduced our staff by 33 per cent since 2010 and a further 1,000 jobs will go in the year ahead.
"However all of this becomes harder each year and in the budget set out in this document we have found it extremely difficult to maintain the full range of services we provide. …