Cuts to services in Rutland may total £700k

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COUNTY council officials have pinpointed seven areas that are facing cuts to save nearly £700,000.

Opening hours at libraries and rubbish tips could be reduced, money for bus services may be scrapped and charges for care in the home could rise.

Rutland County Council highways department could also cut back on street cleaning, grass cutting and road repairs to save £150,000. County council support for schools may also be reduced to save £100,000. If all proposals go ahead it would save £677,300. The council started a two-week consultation on Monday.

Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: “It is very possible that all seven of these ideas could be implemented but people might come back during the consultation with strong ideas about what they want to save or they might have different ideas to put to us, all of which we will consider. We hope people will take part in the consultation and tell us what they want to happen. The budget is a big issue at the moment.

“We are not going to pretend that these decisions are easy or are going to be popular with everyone but it is a real consultation and we are interested in hearing people’s views.”

The council approved putting the ideas out to consultation at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The council is having its Government grant reduced from £9.39m to £8.04m next year, a cut of 14.3 per cent. It will be cut again in 2012/12 by 9.8 per cent to £7.25m.

Coun Begy said: “The really interesting one is the libraries. If we can get the community on board with us and work with volunteers, we will be able to maintain the opening hours.

“Our funding is being drastically reduced and we have to make significant changes, which require difficult decisions to be made.”

The authority has already approved a series of efficiency savings and is in the process of a staff restructuring, which will mean between 50 and 75 jobs are lost. The number of directors has also been reduced from five to three.

There is an online survey up and running for people to have their say on the ideas at www.rutland.gov.uk/youchoose.

There will be a question time session at Rutland County Museum on Wednesday between 7pm and 9pm. To reserve a place e-mail communications@rutland.gov.uk.

County councillors and senior managers will also be at a series of roadshows, which will take place on Saturday, January 22, at Tesco in South Street, Oakham between 9.30am and 11.30am, the Co-op in Burley Road, Oakham between midday and 2pm and the Co-op in North Street East, Uppingham, between 2.30pm and 4.30pm.