Leeds City Council bids to claw back £45m in new budget

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Leeds City Council will become more “enterprising” next year as it introduces a raft of cost-cutting plans in a bid to claw back millions that it has lost in Government funding.

As reported in the YEP yesterday, council tax in Leeds is expected to rise by two per cent next year. The increase could generate £4.6m for the city’s coffers.

The council’s draft budget proposals – to be debated next week – also lay out a number of savings plans, which could save the authority £45m next year. This is to make up for a massive funding shortfall.

Leeds has lost £94m in Government funding in the past three years, with another £36m to be slashed next year,

The 2014/15 budget report reveals that £5.6m will be generated by the council becoming what it calls “more entrepreneurial” – this includes plans to charge council tenants for services.

Other proposals include: £11m to be saved on staffing; £5m from “procurement activity” in public services; £1.6m to be saved from rollout of fortnightly bin collections; and £2.1m further to be slashed from Adult Social Care costs through more “efficiencies”.

Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We have had to cut and reduce services in a way that no-one who enters public service ever wants to do. However, the more efficient we become, the harder it is to achieve further savings. This will present even tougher challenges with further cuts to our funding of around 15 per cent in 2015/16. Yet we are as determined as ever to continue to drive growth, jobs and a real future for the city and its people.”

The budget proposals will be received by the executive board next week, and will be brought back to the full council for consideration on February 26, 2014, after a public consultation.

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