Have your say on �23 million Barking and Dagenham Council cuts

A number of frontline services in Barking and Dagenham, from youth clubs to charities, could be hit as the council reveals plans to save a further �23million over the next two years.

Plans were published in the Barking and Dagenham Post newspaper today (Wednesday) and on the council website last night (Tuesday). Among the list of about 50 proposed cuts for 2013/14 are:

1) slashing grants to some of the borough’s voluntary sector organisations

2) shutting the Broadway theatre

3) closing or reducing services at youth clubs

4) scrapping the green wheelie bin

5) bringing in charges to collect bulky waste.

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6) reducing street cleaning

7) scrapping some services at children’s centres

8) ceasing the council’s fortnightly newspaper, The News.

About 400 council positions could also be abolished over two years.

Deputy council leader Cllr Rocky Gill told the Post �8m needed to be saved in the next financial year and a further �15m in 2014/15.

He added: “Last year we made a number of savings by slimming down our workforce, but unfortunately we now have to focus more on frontline services.”

Have your say

In an effort to save �19m, around 80 per cent of proposed cuts were given the go-ahead by the council last year, including the demise of Dagenham Town Show.

If the 2015 target is met, the council will have saved a total of �80m over four years.

Cllr Gill criticised the coalition government for forcing local authorities to make massive cuts when many residents were struggling make ends meet: “It’s a real kick in the teeth for many residents when they are coping with the difficult financial situation we find ourselves in, with some having to choose between food and heating.”

For the second year residents can have their say on what should stay and go. Cllr Gill said: “We have to make many of the cuts, but we are keen to hear what residents think and if they have alternative suggestions.”

Views can be given at up-coming public select committee meetings. The next, with the safer and stronger communities select committee, is at 6pm on October 31 at the Civic Centre. There will also be leader’s and a deputy leader’s question time next month.

To find out more details about the proposals and the launch of a campaign against cuts to voluntary services in the borough pick up a copy of the Barking and Dagenham Post out now.

Email your views and stories to postnewsdesk@archant.co.uk or call 0208 477 3893