Newport council set for ‘seismic’ change in wake of cuts
WORK to map out the future of Newport council and possible cuts has begun amid warnings of seismic change to the authority.
Newport council's Labour cabinet yesterday agreed to set up a working group to discuss proposals for the authority's Change Programme.
Chief executive Will Godfrey said making individual savings here and there is no longer acceptable, with the authority bracing for a difficult financial settlement from the Welsh Government.
Officers have drawn up a list of proposals for the work in progress programme, which once complete will form the basis of the 2014/15 budget.
Deputy leader Cllr Ray Truman said he hoped the opposition would change its mind about not taking part in the group's work.
It is hoped councillors from across the council will contribute to the group, which will be made up of cabinet members.
The precise impact of the 2014/15 budget is not yet known but the Welsh Local Government Association has suggested the authority could face a cut as large as £14 million.
Council leader Bob Bright said it is not quite clear yet what the savings the council will face but they "will be of some magnitude".
"We are talking about seismic change," he said.
Will Godfrey, chief executive of the council, said: "Setting out a longer term change programme is really important."
Deputy leader Cllr Truman said he found comments from the opposition on the programme "a little bit sad," adding: "We welcome comments from everybody, including the opposition. I hope they think twice about not being involved," he said.
Cllr Paul Cockeram, cabinet member for social care and well-being, said new councillors would be able to bring their own experience from their working environment.
Cllr Bob Poole, cabinet member for education and young people, said: "With the situation we find ourselves, we need to do something different. We need to draw expertise in from other members of the council."
It is not known yet what is contained within the draft change programme and a final version is expected in the next couple of months.
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