RCT Labour Cabinet will this week launch a consultation on the second phase of their proposed cuts. The exact amount of the gap they are trying to bridge has been somewhat of a moveable feast, but the latest report suggests they need to find £19.6 of savings / extra income in 2014/15.
That means even if they ok all the proposals in phase one and two then they will still be £7.235million short of where the Finance Director says they need to be.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign manager Karen Roberts says
"Some of this will come from the changes agreed in November to workers contracts and voluntary early retirement payments, although there has been no definite figure given for that.
"The rest will have to come from further cutbacks in services or a rise in income.
"There are still non statutory services which the Council provide which they may decide to cut. Home to School transport is one example where RCT provide more than they have to by law. The annual bill is huge and growing all the time. It would be another unpopular move amongst those affected but is an area where savings could be made.
"The PR and Strategy department and the associated advertising costs we have said all along should be cut. Part of that department covers events, but it seems little revenue comes in from them. Why not? If RCT are going to arrange events such as the Big Weekend, alone or in partnership, then they should be making money from them.
"RCT are planning on closing some leisure centres but keeping others on - they could have followed the example of other councils and put them out to private contract. They are thinking of closing the Muni Arts Centre but keeping open two other theatres that bring in less income. Why? Are councils the best people to run theatres? Maybe they should all be run by private enterprise or community groups.
"They also provide other services they have no need to. Day nurseries for instance. The Council set up several nurseries under the now defunct Genesis project. They pay their staff more than private providers can afford, and spend a considerable amount on staff based at the Education department to oversee them. Why?
"Of course the sensible thing would have been for the Council to take a look at the budget as a whole and not break it up into chunks as they have. Then people could have had a much better idea of what is going on."
How the figures add up so far:
Nursery education 4.5m
Meals on wheels 0.3m
Youth provision 2.2m
Day centres 0.6m
Adult care 0.134m
Telecare charging 0.118m (income)
EMI care charges 0.060m (income)
Respite care charges 0.032m (income)
Heritage services 0.350m
Bus routes 0.4m
Paddling pools 0.181m
Leisure centres 1.2m
Changes agreed in November to workers contracts
Defunct Genesis project.