£4m budget cuts for Hartlepool that will see dozens of jobs axed have been finalised

Hartlepool Civic Centre
Hartlepool Civic Centre

BUDGET cut proposals worth more than £4m and resulting in the loss of dozens of council jobs have been finalised ahead of a crunch meeting this week.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s budget for 2014-15 is going before full council on Thursday night after the final proposals were agreed by the finance and policy committee.

The plans will see 27 compulsory redundancies and 33 voluntary redundancies at the local authority but senior officers and finance chiefs say they have done their best to minimise the impact on front-line services.

Services set to be affected from April include lunchtime school crossing patrols being axed to save £25,000, reducing the funds available to community groups by £220,000 and huge savings in adult social care worth £1.325m.

But the authority is looking to freeze council tax though - for the fourth consecutive year.

Between now and 2016-17, Hartlepool Council is facing a worst case scenario of a £21m black hole and civic chiefs have described the central government cuts as “unprecedented”.

Finance and policy committee members approved the final proposals and also took time to praise the senior officers for their work in putting together the budget.

Council leader, Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “We have had this debate many times before. Are we happy to support the recommendations that will go before full council this week.”

Members agreed the plans.

Coun Akers-Belcher added: “The amount of work over the past year that has gone into this needs to be applauded, and the multi-year approach taken. We really appreciate it.”

From 2014-15 to 2016-17, it is estimated the authority will have to find savings of between £17.1m and £21.6m, which is on top of the £19.5m already saved over the last three years.

The departmental budget cuts for next year total £4.376m and planned savings include £457,000 from the chief executive’s department, child and adult services department saving £1,954,000 and the regeneration and neighbourhoods department a total of £1,862,000.

Meanwhile, public health savings total £103,000.

Full council will meet on Thursday, February 6 at 7pm in the Civic Centre, Victoria Road, Hartlepool.