Economy and Infrastructure

28.11.17

Berkshire council to cut Citizens Advice funding in £10m savings drive

West Berkshire Council has proposed funding cuts to its Citizens Advice in an effort to continue running other services on current government investment.

The authority will also join a number of other councils in charging for garden waste collection, a move it says could generate £900,000 a year, with households paying a £50-a-year cost.

Officials say that increased need for public services added to dwindling central government funding means they will have to find around £10m in savings across the borough in order to deliver a balanced budget.

Citizens Advice is a system of charities that run through UK boroughs and offer residents free advice on legal, consumer and financial issues. It has been running since the 1930s.

There are also other plans to create efficiencies and bring in extra revenue, such as a change in planning application notices, but the council says it cannot continue to provide unless it cuts some costs.

Cllr Graham Jones, leader of West Berkshire Council, said communities were asking more from services every year but the authority was receiving less to deliver on those needs.

“We have looked first at how the council can work differently by becoming more efficient and by working more closely with other local authorities and with our communities,” he explained.

“Our priority has been to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities but it's inevitable that there will be an impact on some other services.

“Although we have set out our proposals for next year it’s important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to alleviate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed.”

Over the past eight years the council claimed it has had to find savings of £55m, putting some of this down to the vast decrease in the Revenue Support Grant, which was worth nearly £34m to the authority in 2011/12.

In recent times, West Berkshire has changed its staff terms and conditions and made plans to reduce the number of councillors in the borough from 52 to 43, all as part of cost-saving works.

The budget proposals are available to view and respond to at the council’s dedicated webpage until 10 January 2018.

Today’s news follows announcements from a number of other councils that services will have to be cut, while some local authorities, such as Swindon Borough Council and Newcastle City Council, have been forced to make major job cuts – with the former potentially dropping as many as 400 staff to plug a £30m funding gap.

Top image: Sterling750

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Government must encourage council scrutiny ‘culture change’

15/12/2017Government must encourage council scrutiny ‘culture change’

The government has to encourage a culture change within local councils in order to improve the quality of overview and scrutiny plans. The C... more >
London council to cut sick pay in cash-saving bid

15/12/2017London council to cut sick pay in cash-saving bid

A London council has proposed to stop paying sick pay for the first three days in a bid to save money. The GMB has called Hillingdon Council&rsq... more >
Burnham announces major 2018 GMCA transport overhaul

14/12/2017Burnham announces major 2018 GMCA transport overhaul

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has announced a major overhaul of the region’s transport network. Burnham said problems... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Government must encourage council scrutiny ‘culture change’

15/12/2017Government must encourage council scrutiny ‘culture change’

The government has to encourage a culture change within local councils in order to improve the quality of overview and scrutiny plans. The Communities and Local Government Commons Select Com... more >
London council to cut sick pay in cash-saving bid

15/12/2017London council to cut sick pay in cash-saving bid

A London council has proposed to stop paying sick pay for the first three days in a bid to save money. The GMB has called Hillingdon Council’s proposal an “affront to its hard-workin... more >

the raven's daily blog

Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

11/12/2017Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

Jen Rae, head of innovation policy at Nesta, says the aims in the government’s new Industrial Strategy are ambitious, but will require a shift in policymaking in order to be realised in full. Last Monday saw the long-awaited launch of the UK’s new Industrial Strategy, the government’s plan for prosperity and growth in a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Introducing the Facilities Management Marketplace

14/12/2017Introducing the Facilities Management Marketplace

The new Facilities Management (FM) Marketplace will be an opportunity to streamline the process of buying key services whilst propping up new ent... more >
Meet Pepper, the social care robot

14/12/2017Meet Pepper, the social care robot

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has become the country’s first local authority to fully exploit the benefits of robotics in social care by ... more >
Quality, not quantity, is what matters

14/12/2017Quality, not quantity, is what matters

Luke Sibieta, research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Education Policy Institute, takes a look at the impact of the apprentic... more >
NCSC: A new and adventurous agenda

11/12/2017NCSC: A new and adventurous agenda

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), reflects on the lessons learned during the first year of the governm... more >

interviews

Are we taking a risk on education?

14/12/2017Are we taking a risk on education?

Adrian Prandle, director of economic strategy and negotiations at the National Education Union (NEU), questions the stark lack of announcements a... more >
A fantastic opportunity awaits you

11/12/2017A fantastic opportunity awaits you

Eight months on from the government’s announcement of major training reforms, Anne Milton, minister for apprenticeships and skills at the D... more >
This is Manchester, we do things differently here

10/12/2017This is Manchester, we do things differently here

Joanne Roney OBE, chief executive of Manchester City Council, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the region’s pioneering plans f... more >
Andy Burnham: the crisis unfolding in front of our eyes

10/12/2017Andy Burnham: the crisis unfolding in front of our eyes

With homelessness on the rise across the country, politicians in central and local government are desperately looking for new solutions. Andy Bur... more >

public sector focus

View all News