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Durham County Council facing a further £20m in cuts
4:57pm Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
THE region’s largest local authority says it will have to make an additional £20m in savings after the full detail of Government spending cuts emerged.
Durham County Council says it will now launch an extensive consultation exercise to ask the public where they would prefer to see the savings made.
A report to go before the authority’s cabinet, meeting at Bowes Museum on October 9, will reveal that the authority must make savings of £222m by 2012.
The figure is £20m higher than councillors were initially told in July, after the full implications of Government changes to funding of social care, housing and education emerged.
Leader, Coun Simon Henig, said: "Local Government continues to face the highest levels of spending cuts whilst also bearing the responsibility for delivering the vast majority of frontline services to residents.
"For County Durham, as with other areas in our region, these budget pressures are particularly painful for some of our most deprived areas.
"As a result I have written to central Government expressing our very serious concerns regarding the impact these increasing savings targets are having here and appealing for the financial settlement to reflect local needs."
The council says it is also in discussions with bodies including the Association of North East Councils and the Local Government Association to form a joint response to the Government on the impact of significantly increased savings targets on the public.
Coun Henig said residents would be asked for their views on how to make further savings during a consultation exercise, with public events planned for October and November.
He said: "As always the views of our residents remain vital to us during this very difficult process.
"Understanding how changes to services will affect people’s lives and what areas the public see as priorities will continue to inform budget decisions".
He added: "What we hear will help determine how we move forward. It’s crucial everyone has their say."
The results of the consultation will be brought back to Cabinet in December and January for consideration.
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