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Finance and money

Cuts lead to tough budget decisions for Lambeth

Lambeth Council has agreed its spending for next year in the face of unprecedented government funding cuts which are likely to add up to around a third of the council’s budget over the next four years.

Lambeth, one of the capital’s most deprived boroughs, has faced one of the biggest funding reductions, totalling £37 million in the next financial year.

A meeting of the full council last night agreed a budget that aims to prioritise services for the most vulnerable, such as home care services for elderly and disabled people, help for victims of domestic violence, and children with special needs.

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “The government cuts have led to the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. We’ve cut costs by taking out tiers of management, eliminating waste, freezing pay and looking to share services with other councils, but still that is not enough to meet the hole in our finances left by these funding cuts. I don’t believe that any of my colleagues came into public service to make decisions like this, but the extent of the cuts mean we have had no choice but to look at cutting or reducing some services and it’s clear that services that people use every day will be affected.”

Services that will see a reduction in funding or will be stopped include:

  • Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes.
  • Less maintenance of the borough’s parks.
  • The park ranger service will end.
  • The school crossing patrol service which currently serves 24 schools will be transferred to schools if they wish to pay for it.
  • Street cleaning levels will be reduced.
  • Christmas lights and decorations are to be stopped and businesses approached to fund town centre decorations.
  • Three out of four Public toilets are to close with the council instead promoting its ‘Community Toilet Scheme’.

Key services that the council will protect:

  • 22 PCSOs who are directly funded by the council and provide support to Safer Neighbourhood Teams
  • Front line Children’s Social Care Services – protecting Lambeth’s most vulnerable children and young people from harm.
  • Services to children with special needs and disabilities.
  • Early Intervention – services working with families needing support to keep children and young people safe.
  • Adult Social Care.
  • All council run day centres for vulnerable people.
  • The anti-social behaviour rapid response team will continue
  • Services to victims of domestic violence.
  • Weekly refuse collections will continue.

Lambeth needs to find £79 million of savings over the next three years.

A total of around 800 council posts are likely to go by the end of 2011/2012 including voluntary and compulsory redundancies and non-replacement of staff.

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