CAMBS: Job losses and service cuts warning as council considers slashing budget


- Credit: Sarah Allison

Job losses and massive cuts to frontline services are on the horizon as county councillors prepare to look at proposals to slash £32.6million from the budget over the next three years.

There are plans to turn off street lights in most areas between midnight and 6am and proposals to cut services for adult learning, libraries, and recycling centres and reduce road gritting to 30 per cent of the current network.

Officers, who have drawn up the proposals, say the cuts are necessary because of inflation rises and a “massive growth in the area’s population”.

The plan to dim street lights will save £278,000 over two years and follows what the county council describes as “successful trials” in other areas which showed there was no evidence that dimming street lights led to a rise in crime or accidents. Lights will, however, be kept on all night at busy junctions, and main routes where there is a lot of “late night activity”.

As part of the plan, parish councils will be able to pay for lights if they want them to stay on all night at an estimated cost of £15 per year per street column.

Graham Hughes, executive director for economy, transport and environment for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “There are no easy choices to make if we are to balance the budget and make the millions of pounds of savings required.

“At the moment these are just proposals being put forward by officers to councillors on ways to make these tough savings.

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“We all want to deliver high quality services for the people of Cambridgeshire that we serve, but unfortunately it is inevitable that cuts will need to be made.

“We will be working closely with parish councils and community groups on some of the proposals to see where they may wish to help in their area.”

CCC has already made savings of £70m over the last two years and £31m this year.

Other proposals include:

? £178,000 to adult learning programmes in Fenland

? £2.4m on waste services by reviewing PFI contracts and services at recycling centres

? £750,000 cut in next year’s budget for gritting roads by reviewing, and reducing the number of roads gritted to 30 per cent of the network

? £1.6m over three years by reducing the cost of larger libraries

Environment and economy committee members will meet to discuss the budget proposals on October 21.

Members of the highways and community infrastructure committee will discuss their proposals on Tuesday, October 28.