Croydon told to brace itself for five more years of cuts
The borough's residents should prepare for five more years of budget cuts, the council warned last night.
Croydon can expect cuts to council spending to continue until at least 2018 as central government inflicts further grant reductions on local authorities, said chief executive Jon Rouse.
Yesterday was the final day of the consultation period on a £36m package of cuts that will see funding for social care, health and housing slashed by £11.1m over the next two years and spending on children's and families' services fall by £11m.
It comes 12 months after councillors signed off 150 redundancies amid attempts to save £43m from last year's budget.
But Mr Rouse warned further savings would have to be made as the council faces up to inevitable reductions in government funding.
He said a government spending review this year was likely to bring news of a 7.5 to 8 per cent fall in council grants.
The council received £70.88 less per resident from central government this year than it did two years ago.
Speaking at a meeting to scrutinise this year's budget, Mr Rouse said: "We can be certain of at least two more years of deficit reduction from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and there will be futher years of grant reduction.
"As a local authority there is no question that we must continue to prepare for an efficiency agenda up until March 2018."
Council leader Mike Fisher said the authority wanted to move away from delivering services to commissioning them and suggested it could look to share more services with other councils to save money.
He said: "I don't think members of the public mind whether services are delivered by Croydon for Croydon.
"We are already working with other boroughs to benefit from the efficiences of scale and that will be a vital part of the process going forward."
He added budget cuts were essential to avoid rises in council tax but refused to be drawn on whether the residents could see a tax increase next year.
Councillor Fisher also insisted the council was intent on increasing use of local archives despite planned to axe three jobs and £105,000 of funding for the service.
He said: "We are looking at how we can increase access to the archives service and will in good time come forward with a range of proposals."
The council leader also denied that plans to make ten of the borough's 'lollipop' patrol wardens redundant would place children in danger and said most of the money saved through the job losses would be channeled back to schools.
He said: "What we are doing is looking at how we can reduce the amount of management and looking at where patrols are no longer needed because the risk is no longer significant, such as in places where there are now zebra crossings in place."