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Fenland faces deep cuts as Cambridgeshire County Council looks to save £100m

School crossing patrols in Fenland could be under threat
School crossing patrols in Fenland could be under threat

Communities and schools could be forced to take on school crossing patrols as Cambridgeshire County Council looks to save £41 million next year.

Leaders of the county council have warning that “bleak choices” are ahead as the authority looks to slash more than £100 million from its budget over the next five years.

Funding for school crossing, reducing the amount of roads gritted in the winter along with cutting support given to children and adults are among the proposals.

The authority is also looking to save £100,000 by sharing a chief-executive with Peterborough City Council.

Council leader Steve Count said the county is facing a massive funding challenge and has stressed these are just proposals.

He said: “We are already making tough decisions and with millions of pounds fewer in the budget this can only get worse, as Government grants dwindle further.

“We have already reduced staff, shared services and made considerable savings. We know we can do more but we have reached a tipping point where frontline services will be further affected.”

The Economy, Transport and Environment Committee is looking to shave £6.5 million from its £95 million budget.

A total of £171,000 could be saved by removing funding for the school crossing patrols around the county, including those which run in Wisbech and March.

Reducing the gritting routes down to 30 per cent could create £650,000 worth of savings while the council is considering charging utility companies for the time spent on road works.

Libraries could be under threat. The council is looking to reduce hours and withdraw funding from some libraries to save £375,000. The mobile service could be cut creating £160,000 over two years.

Fenland Learning Centres could see their funding cut by £90,000 and bus services could be reduced over two years to save £1.4 million.

Up to 50 job cuts could be expected if committee members go ahead with the proposals.

Executive director Graham Hughes said: “No one can deny the picture facing Cambridgeshire is one of the most difficult we have ever had to face but we remain determined to do the best we can for our residents and communities.”

Children, families and vulnerable adults in Cambridgeshire could see services massively reduced.

The children, families and adult services is looking to save £26.5million next year.

The committee could save £9.3 million by reducing care support for vulnerable adults and the elderly, including those with mental health needs.

Subsidies for educational transport for over 16s could help to save £770,000 while the council is also considering cutting the £120,000 funding for the speech and language therapy service.

Other proposals include cutting Children’s Centres funding by £250,000 next year.

Up to £1.43 million could be saved by “reducing the total of children young people becoming ‘looked after’”.

The council is looking to increase contributions from elderly people to their care budgets and reducing services for adults with learning difficulties by using a private provider to save £500,000.

The council is looking to save £502,000 on agency social workers along with reducing support and advice available to schools to save £500,000.

People apply for a blue badge could see the price rise from £9 to £10 along with paying £10 to replace a badge. The council is currently spending £230,000 on dealing with blue badges but only makes £97,000.

The council is asking communities on how to meet the buget challenges and has launched a consultation. Go to www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/challenge

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