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Brent Council warns ‘everything’ will be scutinised as part of £95m worth of cuts

PUBLISHED: 06:45 17 December 2015

Cllr Muhammed Butt is in the running for a digital leader award.

Cllr Muhammed Butt is in the running for a digital leader award.

Archant

Residents are being warned by Brent Council that it will leave no stone unturned as it faces making £95million worth of cuts over the next four years.

Town hall chiefs have said nothing would be left off the table and “everything” was being scrutinised as they battle to make the savings to plug the gap left by a slash in government funding.

The council are being tight-lipped on where the cuts will be made but are considering charging residents for previously free services or increasing the fees of the current payable ones.

Areas where the borough’s income is “below average” compared to neighbouring local authorities such as charges collected through waste disposal services are also being scrutinised.

The council has identified £470,000 of extra savings it could make which comes after the introduction of a ‘green tax’ last year which forces residents to pay to have their garden waste collected.

Around £726,000 of savings have been identified within the council’s culture, sport and recreation services which could mean fees to use facilities such as its sports centres could rise.

Job losses are not being ruled out as well as a reduction in the number of residential care homes to a “necessary minimum”.

The council has also spotted ways of earning money without hitting residents financially by increasing the number of street billboards, lamppost banners and advertising on its website.

However that will only bring in £510,000 compared to the £1.9million it hopes to raise through new fees and increases on current charges. Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, told the Times: “From 2010 to 2017 our budget will have seen cuts of 75 per cent.

“If it means taking a look at reducing something in order to protect a service a vulnerable person needs, I will take a look at it.”

Five public consultation meetings have been arranged to discuss the budget over the next two months with two additional budget specific public meetings in January.

Cllr Michael Pavey, deputy leader of the council, said: “What we are doing here is tabling proposals and then taking them to the public for consultation and discussion. If the public is up in arms about any one of these issues we will talk it through and if necessary we will change it.

“We believe this is the right thing to do and we are going to take these out to Brent connects and public meetings.”

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