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Potential bankruptcy for Stoke-on-Trent council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s leader has cautioned that without additional government assistance, the council might have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. 

The council is currently in discussions with the government to secure an additional financial support package amounting to £44.7 million over two years. 

In a move to achieve savings, the local authority is seeking public input on proposals that aim to save a total of £3.4 million, including cutting down library opening hours, charging £1 car parking at Longton Exchange and implementing an annual £40 brown bin collection fee. 

An additional £4.6 million is to be saved through back-office operations which will change how services are delivered (these don’t require public consultation). 

Additionally, there are considerations for reducing 16.1 net full-time equivalent positions and implementing a 4.99% increase in council tax.

Council leader Jane Ashworth said: ‘Times have seldom felt so hard – we know that is the case for many families in the city, and the same can be said for our public services. We have some very difficult choices to make if we are to set a balanced budget for the next financial year.’

‘Failure to set a balanced budget will probably result in government commissioners running the council, like in other areas across the country, which may result in radical cuts to services that we know local people care deeply about such as potentially closing leisure centres and museums, stopping street cleaning and grass cutting, less highway maintenance and less frequent bin collections,’ she added.

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