Plans To Cut Street Cleaning Services In St Helens Revealed

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 9:27am

By Kenny Lomas - Local Democracy Reporter

St Helens Council is consulting with staff as it prepares to make cuts to its street cleaning service, it can be revealed.

Following a review of the service, in September 2017 cabinet set out plans to make around £200,000 of cuts to the service over 2018-19 and 2019-20.

For 2018-19, it was proposed to make £66,000 worth of cuts by removing a number of street sweeping beats.

The council proposed to cut a further eight street sweeping beats in 2019-20, equating to a saving of £137,000.

This would mean there would be only eight beats left from 26.

The council has told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that is currently consulting with staff over cuts to the service, although it stressed that no decision has been made.

A recent report by the independent thinktank, Centre for Cities, highlighted that street cleaning services as one of the biggest areas that has seen a sharp drop in funding in recent years.

Conversely, social care has taken up a growing share of overall spending.

At 62%, Barnsley committed the largest share of its overall spend to social care out of all of the cities and towns covered in the report.

A spokesman for St Helens Council said the authority spent approximately 70% of its 2018-19 budget – around £120m – on adult and children’s social care.

The cuts to the street cleaning service are part of a wider programme of savings totalling £20.6m, which are set out in the authority’s three-year budget.

The council says that by 2020, the overall reduction in grant funding will £90m, a reduction of 73%.

This reduction equates to £510 lost for every person living in the borough.

A council spokesman said: “A reduction in street cleansing beats for 2019-20 was proposed as part of the council’s three-year budget in 2017.

“This, along with a number of other potential measures, was identified to meet the required budget savings of £20.6 million over this period, in order to protect other vital services in light of continuing funding cuts by government.

“However, we are currently consulting with staff and no decision has been made.”

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