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Guide on savings ideas is criticised
9:00am Saturday 5th January 2013 in News
A CONTROVERSIAL handbook which gives town halls 50 ideas for saving money has been criticised by council chiefs.
Local government minister Eric Pickles has sent all councils a guide for wasting less cash – including selling off old buildings, sharing staff and scrapping free food and drink at meetings.
But the booklet has been lambasted by politicians, many of whom say virtually every single idea is already being done.
No councils in the county currently offer food at meetings, and when it comes to sharing staff, all south Worcestershire authorities already share certain services, like benefit collections.
Worcestershire County Council is also trying to bring in £14 million by selling up to 18 unused sites it owns.
Another idea on the list is to “sell services”. But many authorities say the staff they have cut in recent years makes it difficult.
Councillor Paul Cumming, Malvern Hills District Council’s executive member for finance, where £1.3 million of savings are needed by 2015, said: “We don’t have people sitting around who can offer services, and in any case we would not want to compete with local businesses.”