Peterborough council planning to cut £19m from its budget

Cuts to special school transport and charging to remove garden waste are some of the ways a council plans to plug a £19m gap in its budget for 2014.

Peterborough City Council said savings were needed to "keep the local economy buoyant" and protect other services.

Cutting the discretionary green waste collections would save £800,000.

It also proposes a two-year council tax freeze, £26m investment in new school places, and an additional £1m each for adult and children's services.

The Conservative-led authority faces a £9m cut in government funding in 2014-15 and an additional £10m of "cost pressures" including an increased demand on children's and adult's social care services, a spokesman said.

'Environmental hypocrisy'

David Seaton, cabinet member for resources, said the council needed to look at new ways to fund some "discretionary" services including garden waste collections, for which it proposes a new annual charge of £39.

Liberal Democrat councillor, Nick Sandford, said the plan could lead to fly-tipping or people using the black bins for garden waste, increasing the council's landfill costs

"It makes neither environmental or financial sense," he said.

He described the move as "environmental hypocrisy... given the council's got an ambition to be the environment capital of the country".

However, Mr Seaton said: "About 30% of councils already charge for it and many more are planning to.

"A proportion of residents use it but everyone pays for what is a discretionary service."

He described the council tax freeze as "great news for local residents".

"That's four out of five years with no council tax increase.

"We need to keep... increasing income through initiatives like wind and solar farms or selling services, really driving efficiencies and transforming the way we deliver services," he added.

The budget proposals will be put out to public consultation on 3 February.

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