Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Cambridgeshire council makes cuts to save 1.6m

Jobs are to be axed and staff pay frozen at a council in Cambridgeshire struggling with a £1.6m budget deficit.

East Cambridgeshire District Council is also to increase council tax by 2.95%.

Also at risk of cuts are some kerbside recycling collections, community schemes and money for arts developments including restoration of old buildings.

A final decision will be made on 23 February said Fred Brown, council leader, who added the council has no option but to pass costs to tax payers.

"We will be forced to take some measures that the public will feel," he said.

"Council tax will increase by 2.95% which is roughly 8p per household per week. This kind of thing will give us the budget we need."

The need for budget cuts has been blamed on a smaller government grant settlement and reductions in income from planning applications, building control and interest payments.

Staff cuts, a pay freeze and less use of consultants could save more than £750,000.

Painful cuts

Discussions are taking place with Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire (ADeC) about how to save £50,000.

A waste and recycling contract is to be reviewed and there is a strong possibility a plastic bottle kerbside collection service could be withdrawn.

The budget will be set at a full council meeting on Tuesday 23 February.

Mr Brown said: "This council has never faced a more difficult financial situation.

"Make no mistake, none of the proposals being put forward have not been scrutinised or argued over.

"Some very difficult decisions have had to be taken. No one has been immune from the review.

"Our proposals are painful but unfortunately necessary."

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