A local authority is planning to make millions of pounds of service cuts and raise council tax in the next financial year.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council proposes £11.5 million savings as part of its 2023/2024 budget. It is also looking to increase council tax by 4.99 per cent – the new maximum amount allowed without a referendum.
A consultation has now been launched so that people can have their say on £6.9 million of the savings. A further proposed £4.6 million of cuts will not form part of the public consultation as, the council says, they will not impact on frontline service delivery.
Among those areas affected by the proposals are libraries and local centres, street lighting, sport and leisure and special educational needs’ transport.
Despite the reductions, the council says it is determined to push on with its flagship regeneration initiatives, which include the multi-million pound Etruria Valley Link Road – set to open in a few weeks – the Goods Yards next to Stoke Station and Etruscan Square in the city centre.
Council Leader Councillor Abi Brown, pictured above, said: “There is no doubt that as a city we are at a critical juncture, with the cost of living crisis and winter pressures impacting on residents and communities.
“Unfortunately, as an authority we are not immune to these pressures either; high inflation impacts on the money we spend and our ability to deliver services.
“But we cannot allow financial pressures to derail our exciting regeneration projects and deprive our city of the investment, jobs and opportunities that they will bring.
“We are committed to making the best use of our resources, prioritising the protection of the vulnerable and ensuring that people and businesses receive timely advice and support where possible.”
Two per cent of the council tax rise will support adult social care and the remaining 2.99 per cent will support other services for vulnerable people. It means that a total of £178.5 million will potentially be spent on children’s and adults’ social care in 2023/24 – a new year-on-year record.
The public consultation launched on Friday and will run until February 13. The draft budget can be viewed here.