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Job losses and service cuts as Croydon Council loses more funding

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CROYDON Council will have to cut £2 million in services – including youth activities and volunteering – as well as finding another £15 million in savings, to cope with another slash in Government funding.

More than 10 per cent has been shaved off the council's funding from last year, meaning that the authority has endured a 31 per cent cut since 2010.

In proposals going before a scrutiny committee on Tuesday, the budget for children, families and learning is to be slashed, with a £900,000 cut to early intervention, family support and integrated youth services.

Up to 35 jobs could be cut from the service, with another 13 at risk of redundancy. Investment into the voluntary sector will also be affected, with a £125,000 cut.

The chief executive's department is to experience a £1 million cutback, by reducing service managers and manager support, as well as removing £250,000 from its training budget. It also hopes to save £93,000 by axing the Your Croydon magazine.

In total, the proposals could cost 50 council jobs and put another 23 at risk.

Jason Cummings, the committee's deputy chair and Conservative councillor for Heathfield, said: "Cuts always need to be scrutinised, but people need to remember that Croydon has cut fewer services than neighbouring boroughs by making more efficiencies. Children's centres and libraries have remained open through innovative savings."

The plan also sets out how the council plans to save money without cutting back on services.

The budget for adult social care could see £5.9million worth of savings by changing care for the vulnerable and housing schemes.

Sean Fitzsimons, the committee's vice chair and Labour councillor for Addiscombe, said it was crucial to properly scrutinise the efficiency proposals to make sure they were not "cuts masquarading as savings", adding: "A saving is when a service is provided for the same number of people but it costs less. A cut is when the council stops paying for something. We need to make sure those differences are clear."

The biggest savings are likely to come from a £3million cut in the cost of the council's IT system, whereas one of the smallest savings at £10,000 comes from cutting ties with Arnhem – a town it has been twinned with since 1946.

In the proposals, a review of the council's care contracts will be made, a move which hopes to save £600,000. Up to 15 jobs could be lost at the council and another eight are at risk through the efficiency plans.

Where the cash will come from Care The council is currently facing a £1.8million overspend from the second quarter of 2013 although cabinet members are busy presenting a recovery plan to reduce it to £454,000. However, the forecast has improved from the first quarter due to a £800,000 sum from the Department of Health to cover the effects of winter pressure on social care services. A sharp increase in the number of children in need has resulted in the council spending £1.6million over budget, while the cost of children in care has risen to £1million in in-house fostering and another £1million in foster placements. The council also hopes to install specialist bathrooms in sheltered blocks for the elderly so that fewer need constant care or placements in care homes, saving save £250,000. Similarly, £500,000 could be saved by extending an initiative to move vulnerable people from residential care into supported housing within the community. The council also hopes to save £452,000 by increasing the number of foster parents looking after children in care. Environment Like Croydon's care contracts, the council has proposed re-tendering deals with the companies who look after parks and green spaces, saving £563,000. It also plans to save £247,000 from its green and food waste disposal. Health A further £500,000 could be saved due to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which will see the council and Croydon's NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) paying for services together. Education For children's services, £1million could be saved in special educational needs (SEN) through a Government education grant. However, the council also plans to save £280,000 by encouraging more children with SEN not to travel on council transport. Income Parking fines should boost council coffers by £300,000 while more fines for speeding or driving in bus lanes could provide another £185,000. The proposals also seek to collect £100,000 more by charging schools for their advisory education psychology service and £83,000 through its school improvement service. Cremation fees are planned to go up to raise just £14,000, while the council hopes to make £25,000 by charging for a scheme for vulnerable adults which helps them live independently and £30,000 for Careline, which wires up houses with emergency phone lines.

Job losses and service cuts as Croydon Council loses more funding


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