More cuts on the cards

MINOR roads and pavements in Suffolk could fall into disrepair as a result of spending cutbacks, councillors were being warned today.The county is proposing to cut almost £700,000 from its maintenance programme for unclassified roads and a further £300,000 from the maintenance of pavements over the next financial year.

MINOR roads and pavements in Suffolk could fall into disrepair as a result of spending cutbacks, councillors were being warned today.

The county is proposing to cut almost £700,000 from its maintenance programme for unclassified roads and a further £300,000 from the maintenance of pavements over the next financial year.

The moves are part of £24million worth of cutbacks, revealed first in The Evening Star yesterday, being proposed by the county council after a low government grant which will see 112 posts cut.

Officers warn that the cuts to the maintenance programme could lead to faster deterioration of roads - which could ultimately prove more expensive.

And they warn that the cuts could also harm the reputation of the council.

There will also be halt to the programme of replacing street lights with more efficient lights to help save costs.

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The council is also proposing a freeze on the recruitment of non-uniform staff by the fire and rescue service until a review of support operations has been completed - this should save £125,000 over the year.

The new adult care and community services directorate - which includes social services to adults, adult education, and library services - has still to identify £11 million of cuts and savings.

The reorganisation of the service should save £285,000 - but there are bound to be cuts which will directly affect clients.

There will be savings of £550,000 in services to people with learning disabilities through modernisation. Officials warn this could mean service closures and reductions - and that some people who are currently helped could now be ineligible for support.

They warn: “There will be resistance to change from some people who may object strongly to the alternatives on offer. This will attract complaints and media attention.”

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke, said: “The budget settlement from the Government was devastating. This is the worst settlement there has ever been for this particular authority.”

Chris Mole, Labour MP for Ipswich, a former leader of the County Council said: “Suffolk has been promised an increase of 5 per cent the following year and I want to know why they are talking about such drastic action when they are able to set a budget lasting until March 2007.”

Suffolk Coastal Tory MP John Gummer said Mr Mole “never supports Suffolk, just the Labour Party”.

Reg Hartles, Chairman of the Protest Against Council Tax Suffolk (PACTS), said the county was heading in the right direction by looking at staffing levels and aiming for an inflation only council tax rise.

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