Kent County Council unveils £97m budget cuts

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Budget cuts of nearly £100m have been announced by Kent County Council (KCC) for 2012-13.

The Conservative-run council, which has a total budget spend of £2.2bn, needs to find £97m savings next year.

The cuts followed rising costs, changes to its government grant and extra social care spending. It claims most front-line services are safe.

Labour group leader Councillor Gordon Cowan said savings could only be made by "savage cuts" or increased charges.

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There is more pain to come”

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He said the severity of the cuts had been forced on Kent by the coalition government in a strategy based on making heavy cuts now in order to be generous nearer the next general election.

And Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Trudy Dean said: "The bottom line is there will be £5m less supporting older people and disabled people in their own homes, £4m less supporting vulnerable people to enable them to remain in home, £1m less on libraries, £6m less on supporting schools, half a million less on household waste recycling."

She said it was still not known what difference it would make "to you and me".

And she added: "That's what we really need to know, what difference will this make on the ground."

KCC leader Councillor Paul Carter said: "This is a challenging budget in the most difficult financial times."

KCC £97m budget slice

  • Efficiency savings of £38m
  • £24m from service changes
  • Using one-off funds including reserves of £6m
  • £16m income from joint health initiatives
  • Increase income by £13m through additional grants and increasing charges

He said an additional £22m would be spent on children's services and an extra £12m would be spent on vulnerable adults and supporting health improvements.

And there will be £723m investment in the county over the next three years, including £340m on schools and academies and £140m on roads and public transport, he added.

This capital investment also includes £89m on adult social care, £89m on economic development and housing, £16m on libraries and community facilities, £27m on waste disposal, flood defence and environmental projects and establishing a £20m fund for superfast broadband across the county.

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