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Cabinet - ‘protecting front line services’ is the main aim, says council leader

PUBLISHED: 15:39 09 January 2013

Protecting front line services and putting money back into youth services were two of the priorities of the budget proposed in cabinet yesterday.

The initial budget proposals were submitted to cabinet for the next three financial years and it will now have to be approved by full council.

The leader of the council and leader of the Conservative group Cllr Keith Prince said that cutting spending while trying to protect front line services was his main aim.

Mr Prince said: “We are in a good situation because of all the work we did when we took office in 2010, we can actually put some money back in our reserves and save vital services.”

Two years ago he said the council had to make savings of between £25-30 million. Proposals originally included cutting funding to youth services such as Redbridge Drama Centre, Churchfields, South Woodford but this has been reversed.

He said: “We are putting money back into the music service and the drama centre, we are not closing any libraries. Where we can save money in back offices we have done.”

Cllr Ian Bond, the deputy council leader and Liberal Democrat group leader, said that compared to the position the council was in two years ago things were looking better.

Mr Bond said: “It’s good news for youth services and that we are freezing council tax. I think generally young people are having a rough time so we are pleased to be putting money back into the youth services.”

Deputy leader of the Labour party Wes Streeting said that many of the changes to budget cuts were suggested by Labour last year.

He said: “I notice lots of the things proposed like reversing the proposals to youth service cuts were things we proposed last year and were rejected.

“We are pleased a year on they are taking what we said on board.”

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