Kent County Council unveils £97m budget cuts

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.

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."

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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