More cuts seem to be inevitable

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TOILETS and tourism look to be in the front line for the next wave of cuts as Rother Coucil struggles to meet a half million pound shortfall in its budget.

The crisis has been caused by a substantial reduction in the Government grant.

The authority has already found £1.7million of savings over the last two years by changing working practices, signing joint contracts with other councils, devolving services and selling buildings.

Over 30 posts have been shed in that time, despite the council having one the lowest staffing levels in the South East.

Councillors agreed possible savings could be examined in leisure provision, staffing, toilets, tourism and training. They also asked for more detail on the possibility of reducing councillor numbers through boundary reform and making more income through the planning process.

Council officials were keen to stress that making budget reductions does not necessarily mean the axing of services, with devolution and changing business practices being possible ways of saving more money.

However, councillors are likely to make choices that could alter how certain services are delivered and to what extent.

Rother chief executive Derek Stevens said: “There is no doubt that councillors are facing some very difficult choices.

“The budget is being discussed in broad terms at this early stage, but as we go through the budget setting process it is inevitable that many council services will come under extremely close scrutiny.”