Mayor announces budget proposals for 2015-16
Elected Mayor Ray Mallon last night outlined cuts of more than £14 million to Middlesbrough Council's budget for the 2015-16 financial year. The video from the meeting is now available
Elected Mayor Ray Mallon last night outlined cuts of more than £14 million to Middlesbrough Council's budget for the 2015-16 financial year [41kb].
The latest cuts - on top of nearly £70 million removed from the Council's budget since 2011 - will result in further significant changes to local services and the loss of more than 220 jobs.
Mayor Mallon presented his latest budget proposals at a special meeting of full Council in the Town Hall last night (Wednesday, October 22).
The ongoing austerity measures and reductions in public sector spending imposed by the Coalition Government will see the Council's annual budget reduced by more than £138 million by 2019-20, with the loss of a further 600 jobs.
At last night's meeting, Mr Mallon outlined a total of 51 proposals to achieve savings of £14.1 million in the coming financial year.
Proposals for 2015/16 include:
- Reduction in administrative support and increased use of IT to save more than £2 million
- Transfer of sports and leisure centres to an external trust to save £1.66 million
- Reduce annual contribution to mima by £410,000
- Remove a number of bus service subsidies to save £36,000
- Reduce Economic Development and Communities senior management posts to save £250,000
- Reduce the purchase of books for libraries by 50% to save £100,000
- Reconfigure the delivery of Youth Offending Services to save £230,000
Watch the video from the meeting
The cuts and savings will result in the loss of around 220 jobs, with efforts made to achieve as many as possible through voluntary redundancy and early retirement. At least 350 staff will also transfer back to the Council from its strategic partner Mouchel, with a further 200 transferring out to other organisations.
Mr Mallon also told Council that he would once again oppose any offer of a Council Tax freeze grant from Government, describing it as a 'stealth tax' which would create deeper financial problems - potentially up to £18 million over 10 years - for the future.
A full debate on an increase of up to 2% in Council Tax will take place at a forthcoming meeting.
Mr Mallon said: "The choices are very stark now, but we have a duty to safeguard the finances of the town while protecting front line services where we can.
"Leadership is about doing what's right, not what is popular and that is what this budget is all about.
"In an ideal world, we wouldn't make any of these cuts, and I have stated from the outset that they are too deep and too savage.
"The emphasis now is on minimising the impact on front line services and making the most effective use of the resources available to us."
A period of public consultation is now under way before recommendations are put forward in the next stage of budget setting process.
Key forthcoming dates:
- October 23 - December 3 - public consultation followed by review of consultation feedback
- December 10 - Special Council meeting to discuss 2015-16 budget recommendations and debate a proposed 2% Council Tax increase
- February, 2015 - draft budget agreed
- March, 2015 - Council finalises 2015/16 budget
Follow the link to view the budget proposals [41kb].