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'Difficult process - managed well' - council says of budget
10:00am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in News
PROTESTS, marches, arguments, debates and even police involvement.
Council cuts and tax rises have sparked fury across the north west from Wirral to Wigan and Bolton to Blackpool.
In Warrington, the budget for 2013/14 was agreed on Monday without much of a murmur.
Cuts of £14million, but only losing around 50 jobs - and none of those to compulsory redundancies while increasing council tax by 1.98 per cent.
Clr Terry O’Neill says while it has been a difficult process, the council has managed it well.
He added: “We have handled the process well.
“What we have done is made sure this is not just about cuts. We are investing in schemes to raise money to offset the cuts as well.”
These include ambitious pension refinancing schemes as well as capital works such as improvements to Bridge Street, Walton Hall and a permanent traveller site.
Cuts include those already covered in the Warrington Guardian such as to school transport and the bins service.
Details of where and how cuts will strike are generally vague however and Conservative leader Paul Kennedy believes anger could be reseved for when they are revealed.
He added: “I was given access to the budget and made some comments which have been taken on board.
“But I think there is a sense of reality in the town. People will make comments perhaps if and when it directly affects them. The devil is in the detail.”
And Lib Dem leader Clr Ian Marks says the early action when his party ran the council from 2006 has helped minimse job losses and cuts now.
He added: “Despite what Labour says nationally, most people understand the need for savings to be made by the public sector to get the country out of the financial mess Labour left us in after they started overspending in 2003.
“Councils like Warrington must play their part in this. Making cuts is tough but people realise it has to be done.
“I think this is why there has been limited protest in the town at Labour’s proposals.”
The budget is set for a final hearing at full council on Monday, meeting at 6.30pm in the Town Hall.