Council's budget proposals include closing tips and increasing new garden waste collection charge

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Cheshire East Council is inviting views from residents, businesses, councillors, staff, town and parish councils and local community groups on how it can balance its budget for 2024 to 2025, including looking at the proposals the council is putting forward this year to help achieve that.

As part of its financial plans for 2024/25 Cheshire East Council is proposing to increase Council Tax by 4.99%, the maximum amount currently allowed from April 2024.

In addition, the council has put forward 29 proposals as part of this consultation, which could help the council to reduce its financial pressures for 2024/25.

The largest savings of £5.6 million are proposed in adult social care and £5.2m in child social care.

A total of £4.8 million of savings have been forward in corporate service. Proposals include: temporarily leaving senior leadership posts vacant, reviewing executive support for senior staff, reducing the amount of money spent on emergency help for vulnerable people by closing the Emergency Assistance scheme, charging Parishes for all Parish related election costs, eliminating the use of agency staff and reducing overtime.

Proposals to save £4 million from services overseen by the Environment and Communities Committee include: getting Town and Parish Councils to contribute towards the cost of running libraries and closing the three household waste sites at Bollington, Middlewich and Poynton - leaving just four sites at Alsager, Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield.

The Council is also proposing to Increase the new garden waste charge for 2025 collections from £56 to £59.

Whilst in order to save £0.9 million in highways and transport, the council is proposing to introduce an annual increase in car parking charges and revise its maintenance practices in winter service, grass cutting, gully emptying and weed treatment, along with repairs to carriageways, footways and highway structures.

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council said: "No one comes into public service to significantly cut the services that local residents rely on, but we must be realistic and make responsible decisions about prioritising our spend with limited resources.

"We must put supporting the people who need our help the most, ahead of many other things we would like to do - and that many people want us to do - including further investment in road maintenance, local recycling centres, libraries and leisure services.

"Cheshire East Council is far from alone in this. Councils across the country are making severe cuts to services and making clear to government that the current financial position is not sustainable."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of the council added, "It is so important for everyone to have their say. If you have never commented in a council consultation before, now is the time to do so. A number of these proposals will affect everyone – either directly or indirectly - and some of these changes are significant. We need to know how they might affect you and the people you care about.

"We, your local councillors, are going to have to make difficult decisions to enable us to balance our budget. However, these budget pressures do force us to look at doing things differently and identify opportunities for improvement and efficiencies.

"It is deeply concerning how challenging the year ahead will be for all local authorities, including Cheshire East."

To have your say on the proposals complete the online consultation by January 28thPaper copies will also be available at local libraries.

Following publication of the draft financial strategy, the council’s service committees will consider the budget proposals at public meetings in January and February.

The decision to approve and adopt the budget will be taken at a full council meeting on 27th February.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Denise Roberts
Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 1:31 pm
Perhaps Cheshire East council paying some of its employees obscene salaries & squandering our council tax money on useless projects has not helped its bank balance!
David Carey
Tuesday 16th January 2024 at 10:41 am
I think we all knew the cost of the garden waste charge would rise year on year as does council tax to the maximum amount allowed.

Just over 33% of people signing up says a lot, especially as Cheshire East has the highest cost for garden waste charges in the North West.

What we haven’t had is the complete and exact explanation as to why CE residents have been charged so much for this service in the first place.
Steven Mccrory
Tuesday 16th January 2024 at 1:36 pm
It's another tax and simply an excuse for the fly tipping brigade to get even worse. CEC are more interested in paying excessive salaries to woke tree hugging work from home out of touch wasters. More interested in cycle lanes, road closures, than pot holes and well thought out ideas. Tips also closing down, We are almost now a 3rd World Country. I am sick to death of these councillors all of them. Useless.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 16th January 2024 at 2:19 pm
Steven, you are directing your anger at the wrong target. I'm not saying CE couldn't be more efficient, but they are not the root of the problem.

The council is in debt for the same reason councils throughout the land are in debt. It is NOT just a local CE problem. Tory austerity cuts on public spending year on year since 2010 are now reaching unsustainable levels.

The solution is to reverse them.

They are also the reason the NHS is on its knees, our roads are 3rd world, and much else. The money required to put all this right will far exceed what has been 'saved' by cutting budgets.

It is a nationwide problem, not a Cheshire East one.

But sadly, it is what many people voted for.

Consider that at the next General Election.
John Moylan
Wednesday 17th January 2024 at 9:38 am
I think it is fair to ask the Council members how the deficit reached £20 million without it being raised as a serious issue.
When the deficit was projected to be, say, £500,000, or £1million for example, what measures were being taken to manage the situation?
And, if the root cause is the Central Government and the Civil Service, then whatever Whitehall and Westminster have been demanding local authorities must do, without funding it, then the Local Authorities should, surely, have refused to carryout those activities. Just stop those functions and put the problem back with those in Central Government.
In addition, I think it is about time for us, the taxpayers to revisit the purpose of Local Government and make sure that's the extent of what they do and what we are prepared to pay for.
One option, I'd like to see considered is, say, an annual referendum of a local authorities constituents, for approval of what our money is spent on and how much.
Erica Maslen
Wednesday 17th January 2024 at 2:45 pm
Add in increasing Social Care needs and costs, and borrowing costs for HS2 ..
Jon Williams
Wednesday 24th January 2024 at 7:35 am
CHESHIRE East Council spent more than £37,500 on a ‘rigorous recruitment and selection process’ to appoint its new chief executive.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked for the total costs after listening in to a meeting of the appointments committee in the summer, where it became clear the process of recruiting and appointing a new top boss wasn’t going to be cheap.

Cheshire East’s new chief executive, Rob Polkinghorne, took up his post at the beginning of this month.

In the interim period – between Dr O’Donnell leaving in October and Mr Polkinghorne taking over - the post was filled by David Parr OBE, who was contracted at a daily rate of £1,200.

Agency fees meant the cost to Cheshire East for the interim chief exec was actually £1,380 a day.

Mr Parr worked the equivalent of three days a week.

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