Powys elderly service cuts proposals opposed in survey

Powys council's headquarters Powys council aims to save £20m in the next financial year

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Budget cuts that would hit the elderly have been rejected by more than 1,000 Powys residents who took part in a council survey on savings options.

Powys council aims to save £20m in the next financial year and £40m over the next three years.

In January the council launched a questionnaire for residents to provide feedback on budget cuts which has been reported to the authority's cabinet.

The council's final budget decisions will be taken on 25 February.

Only seven per cent of the 1,180 people who attended public meetings or completed the online survey backed a proposal for a six-fold increase in charges for elderly people going to day centres in Powys.

The move to increase charges for people attending daycentres from £6 to £35 per day would save the council £10,000.

Meals on wheels

And 83% of the 1,247 people that filled in the survey rejected a £250,000 savings plan to close older persons' day centres.

The authority is also considering saving £80,250 by ending its meals on wheels service.

But 79% of the 1,105 people who expressed a view said they disagreed with the plan.

Other unpopular proposals included a £350,000 savings plan to introduce charges for post-16 education transport which was supported by 35% of the 1,140 people who expressed a view.

And a move to close 16 units and four pre-school assessment centres for children with additional learning needs at primary schools was opposed by 64% of the 1,290 people who took part in the survey.

The most popular proposals included a £1.3m plan to transform the council's fleet service, a move to save £108,000 by re-organising the council's property portfolio and a £938,820 savings plan to review expenditure with third parties across service areas.

Savings plan

All of these proposals were backed by 96% of the 1,200 or so people who took part in the survey.

Andy McVicar, chief executive of Age Cymru Powys, said: "We're delighted that the majority of people who took part in the survey realise the importance of older people's services and feel strongly that these services shouldn't be cut.

"I hope the council will take note of the views of tax payers in Powys."

The council's cabinet will discuss the savings plan on 18 February before a decision is made by the full council on 25 February.

That meeting will be shown live on the council website.

Up to 300 Powys council workers are likely to lose their jobs as part of the local authority's savings plan.

It currently employs an equivalent of 5,000 full-time jobs.

The authority is facing a budget shortfall, in common with other councils in Wales, after a 4.5% cut in overall funding.

A Powys council spokesman said: "The cabinet has been provided with full feedback on the findings of the questionnaire as part of the budget paperwork which will be considered on 18 February."

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