Warnings of dire cuts to public services are made on just about a daily basis in the news, so much so that many people may just ignore them, seeing them as an inevitability.
This week, in an interview with this paper, the council’s finance boss, councillor Fiona Colley, has some grim predictions on how Chancellor George Osbourne’s Autumn Budget review may affect the borough.
Cllr Colley says she expects Southwark to have to find savings of £97m over the next three years. And she has outlined where those savings may be made; children’s play areas which require supervisory staff could be closed or faced reduced opening hours; street cleaning could be hit; council tax may be put up in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and an estimated 600 council jobs could be lost.
As Cllr Colley says herself, people will notice the difference.
Although many people may feel bamboozled by the amount of figures that get thrown around in budget stories, and know that cuts to services are a certainty, there is still a chance to tell the council what should be saved and advise them on where efficiencies can be made.
On Tuesday night a crowd of kids and their parents protested outside the council’s Tooley Street HQ, in an attempt to stop Mint Street Adventure Playground being closed.
Finance bosses at the council will not know until February how the budget will affect them, so now is the time for residents to make clear what services cannot be lost.