Herefordshire council to cut another £15m for 2014-15

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Adult social care and children's services could be hit by the next round of cuts in Herefordshire as the council looks to save another £15m in 2014-15.

The Conservative-led authority needs to save £33m by 2018 out of its current budget of around £300m.

Council tax could also rise 5% in 2014-15. A consultation has now started.

Council leader Tony Johnson said it was "one of the hardest-hit authorities", but the government said it had "secured a good deal for all councils".

In May, the authority approved £23m of cuts, on top of £21.1m saved over the last two years.

It has now proposed cutting £5m from adult social care, £2m from children's services and £2m from the transport budget.

Bin collections could be reduced to once a fortnight and less could be spent on street cleaning.

'Impact on everyone'

A referendum will be held if the council decides to raise the council tax by 5%, a process that would cost the authority £160,000.

Mr Johnson said the cuts would mean people will have to do "more for themselves" in future.

Matthew Bone, BBC Hereford and Worcester political reporter

Herefordshire Council says a 5% increase in council tax will raise about £2.4m - money that could be spent on softening the cuts to services for the most vulnerable.

But under new legislation, councils are forced to hold a referendum if they want to raise the tax by 2% or more.

It means Herefordshire's councillors need to be careful.

A referendum will cost about £160,000. If they hold the vote and the answer is no, it will be much needed money down the drain.

"Let me be absolutely clear, we no longer have the income to pay for all the services traditionally provided by the council.

"This is a not an easy budget and it will impact on everyone in Herefordshire."

He added government funding was being cut by more than 40% in the worst cases.

Mr Johnson said he "urged everyone" to respond to the consultation, which closes on 20 December.

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said that "every bit of the public sector needs to keep doing its bit to pay off the inherited deficit, including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending".

"Herefordshire has spending power of £2,077 per household, which is higher than the average for shire area average of £1,987.

"We have secured a good deal for all councils, rural and urban, north and south, metropolitan and shire, including freezing council tax for a further two years and providing almost £4bn more funding for adult social care."

He added that Herefordshire had a reserve of £18.6m, which could be used to "reduce waste and protect frontline services".

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