Kenilworth will not lose its library or children’s centres, assure councillors as they take to the streets ahead of £92million budget cuts.
Warwickshire County Council is holding a series of public information sessions to hear opinion on proposed cuts as it looks to make the huge savings over the next four years.
Members of the Conservative-led council have said there is no denying the difficult times ahead but that views would be taken on board before final decisions.
Cllr Alan Cockburn, deputy leader of the council, said it soon became clear at the very first roadshow event held at Kenilworth Library that children’s centres and libraries were top of the list for concern. But he assured there are “no plans” to axe the services amid the impending cuts.
He told the KWN: “We had a steady response from people in Kenilworth and we will take all views on board as we move forward.
“It is a hard time and we have to accept that we are going to have to stop doing things, or reduce what we do.
“The majority of our money is spent on adult social care and we want to protect that as much as possible.
“We have had a lot of questions about children’s centres and libraries. We are not going to close the library in Kenilworth and that is for certain.
“Nor are we going to close children’s centres. Instead we want to see how we can run more services from them.
“We have to cut 26 per cent of our budget over the next four years. That is a significant amount and we will have to make tough decisions.”
The authority has already factored in a two per cent rise in council tax into calculations meaning there will be another £20million to cut from the budget if it is not supported.
Council tax has been frozen for the past three years under a Government scheme.
The rise would mean an initial rise of around £30 per year for an average band D house in the town in what Cllr Cockburn said had been widely welcomed so far.
“People we have met seem open to the idea,” he said.
“It has been a big issue, but it seems that people are willing to accept this to stop even more severe cuts to our services and that is welcoming.”
The final budget will be set on February 6 by the full council and before that time all parties will discuss options for the future.
Leader of the council, Izzi Seccombe, said they ‘cannot spare any services’ from December’s draft budget.
The council has already announced it must make up to 627 job cuts as part of plans to slash its £350million budget.
Take part online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/letstalk