Cuts 'could turn Bury into a virtual council'
SOME services could be reduced or halted altogether as Bury Council faces the spectre of £16 million worth of new budget cuts between 2015-17.
Delivering his “state of the borough” address at the annual council meeting on Tuesday, council leader Cllr Mike Connolly said: “I hope those watching and listening to announcements from government will finally appreciate and accept the scale of the revenue reductions we are facing and scale of the cuts we need to manage.
“The urgent priority now is to develop proposals that will see reductions identified as part of a medium term financial plan that places these detailed budget options within a two-three year timeframe. Things will change, that’s a fact.”
The council is currently delivering £10 million of cuts in 2014-15, with spending set to be slashed for the following two years.
Cllr Connolly warned: “In the future, the council will simply not be able to meet all the public’s needs and expectations or be able to deliver services at the quantity, quality and standard that we currently provide.
“The council will be up-front about the need to change or even stop providing directly some services, spell out why levels of service are reducing, develop more targeting or, in some circumstances, stop delivering services altogether.
“The council will not be organisa-tionally or financially able to meet all service needs in the future and, therefore, we will need to work with individuals and communities to encourage them, where possible, to undertake more for themselves.
“This is an app-roach that we will need to consider across al the council’s services where we do not have an individual statutory requirement.”
He added: “Over the coming period we must redouble our efforts to ensure the services we directly provide are securing value for money and are delivered in the most effective way as I know our residents would expect this.”
Announcing that the challenge for Bury Council was to offer a wider range of “self-service” remote options, Cllr Connolly added: “In a post-2015 environment, the council will have to look to becoming a ‘virtual’ council where the ‘high street’ experience of ‘self-service’ using smart technology becomes mainstream whilst still offering the traditional options.
But these, because of their affordability, will have to steadily reduce over time.”
- BURY Council has a new deputy leader to replace Cllr John Smith.
Labour Cllr Rishi Shori is the successor, whilst retaining his position in Bury’s Cabinet as member for health and wellbeing.
Cllr Jane Lewis is now cabinet member for communities and culture. Her previous title was leisure, tourism and culture.
A new department, resource and regulation, is headed by Cllr Sandra Walmsley, who was cabinet member for communities and community safety.
Cllr Tony Isherwood remains cabinet member for environment and Cllr Gill Campbell still holds the position of cabinet member for children and young people.
- In last week’s edition, it was stated Cllr Rishi Shori had tweeted that he had been made deputy leader ahead of a formal announcement of Bury’s Cabinet. We would like to point out this was not the case, and that no protocol was broken. The tweet referred to Bury Labour group electing him as its deputy leader.
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