Council’s £55m budget cuts approved

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SHEFFIELD Council’s £55 million of budget cuts for the coming year have been rubber-stamped by the authority’s ruling cabinet and must now be approved by all councillors in a vote next month.

The authority is set to shed 550 staff and reduce spending in numerous areas, including on rubbish collections, which are to be reduced from weekly to fortnightly.

Green bin and bag collections for garden waste will also cease.

Also proposed are cuts to arts and cultural groups, care services, household waste recycling centre opening hours and small grants for community organisations. Fees are to rise for use of sports pitches and car parking permits.

But Government funding has been accepted, meaning there will be no council tax rise this year.

The 2012/13 budget must now be approved at a full meeting of the Labour-dominated authority on March 9.

During the meeting, opposition Lib Dem and Green councillors will present alternative proposals, which would include how the Lib Dems would find funding to preserve weekly bin collections but Labour has a 16-seat majority so no changes are likely to be made.

n Barnsley Council’s budget for 2012/13, which includes £8 million of spending cuts, was also approved by its cabinet yesterday and will now be considered for final approval at a full council meeting on Thursday, February 23, although Labour is in firm control and no changes are expected.

Savings are to be made from funding to policing, leisure and care services but the council is also planning to freeze council tax.

n Rotherham Council’s cabinet will meet to consider its budget next Wednesday. Full details will be announced in the coming days.