Redbridge facing big cuts, but exact size still not known

NO cuts are off the table, with town hall managers drawing up savings which could add up to as much as �50million next year — as the council leader says he still has “no idea” exactly how much cash will be slashed from the budget.

Last week’s spending review by the government indicated that councils across the country will lose 28 per cent from budgets over the next four years.

But as town halls start to prepare for the first wave of cuts in April, Redbridge Council leader Cllr Keith Prince has told the Recorder of the uncertainty which is still filling the air.

He said that he asked Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what cuts Redbridge will suffer during a face-to-face conversation last week, but could not be told.

Cllr Prince said: “It’s so difficult to know. There are so many different factors and variables.

“How much will we lose from the base budget? What about formula grants?”

Explaining that nothing was off the table, except spending stipulated by law, he added: “Of course, there are things that we wouldn’t want to stop doing. We have to look at everything.”

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Borough bosses are expecting to learn of their final settlement – expected to be about a �25million cut from the 2011/12 budget, but possibly as much �50million – in late November or early December.

In the meantime, as councillors brace themselves for four years of heavy cuts, a new set of council priorities are being drawn up.

Cllr Prince said: “We are looking at what we do as a cabinet and looking at whether we still want to do those things as part of a new vision for the borough.

“There’s no point saying we are a low crime, clean borough, then we go and cut everything to do with safety and cut back on roadsweepers.

“It will mean we can cut back on other things while protecting what we see as our priorities.”

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