North West Wales

Toilets could close as Anglesey council tightens belt

Public toilets on Anglesey could be closed due to cutbacks by the local council.

Isle of Anglesey council says it is trying to meet "tough financial challenges" which could mean a 5% hike in council tax bills.

Budget proposals have set out how the council will try to save £2.8m in the next financial year.

The council's leader said he wanted to protect front-line services, but the authority faced "hard choices".

Initial budget proposals will be discussed by the council's executive committee on 7 January.

It recommends that the council sticks with a planned 5% increase in council tax.

A report suggests a series of ways to make savings, ranging from job losses to using more modern photocopiers and printers.

More than £500,000 could be cut from spending on education and youth services, the paper says.

There is also a proposal to close all 29 of the council's public toilets - a move that could save £227,500.

Seven bus services could be reduced or withdrawn altogether to save £190,000 and road maintenance would be reduced, saving £343,000.

'Efficiency savings'

The council is predicting a budget gap of £3.45m next year, rising to £10m by 2015-16. Its services have been set a savings target of 7%.

The final budget will be decided in March.

The council blamed the economic climate for "severe cuts" to public services.

Anglesey chief executive Richard Parry Jones said: "The financial settlement for 2013-14 is an extremely difficult and challenging one.

"These are initial proposals which will be presented to the executive committee for consideration in the knowledge that hard decisions have to be made to meet the financial targets in respect of efficiency savings."

Council leader Bryan Owen said: "We undoubtedly face some hard choices over the coming months, but our aim is to protect front-line services by ensuring real and practical service efficiencies.

"I can assure the people of Anglesey, however, that the authority won't be taking any major decisions until it has consulted fully."

John Chorlton, the councillor responsible for finance on Anglesey's executive, said no decisions would be taken on the budget until a "comprehensive consultation process" had been carried out.

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