6th Jul, 2020

Despair as council grants for good causes to be slashed by two-thirds

COUNCIL grants for good causes are to be slashed by two-thirds, from £300,000 to £100,000, as the Borough looks to find massive savings to avoid running out of money.

The cuts will devastate the town voluntary and community sector (VCS) say campaigners, although Council Leader Matt Dormer has pledged to help them find other sources of income to keep them going.

Among the casualties could be the £5,000 discretionary grants for councillors which were only introduced this year.

“From April the proposal is that thee will be just £100,000 to cover all the VCS sector,” said Gary Roskell of the charity Bromsgrove and Redditch Network.

“There was a consultation event at the Town Hall but it didn’t seem like much of a consultation to me – it was ‘we have already decided to make these cuts – you tell us how you want us to carve what’s left up’.”

Others said the consultation was a sham with officers left to explain it all to the charities and no councillors present.

For charities in the VCS the situation has grown noticeably worse since plans for a stepped reduction in council rent rebates for those occupying council properties was first proposed back in October.

Then it was to cover an £80,000 overspend in the council’s budget with a planned step reduction in the council subsidy over two years.

Now £200,000 is to go from the entire grants budget and Coun Dormer admitted that the stepped reduction proposal was ‘still up in the air’ although he ‘had a plan’ to cover costs for those VCS organisations that met the council’s long term aims.

“In an ideal world if I could find the money somewhere else that’s exactly what I would do but at the moment I can’t,” he said.

“However I have an idea and there will be money available to make sure that these organisations are covered for next year and ongoing, however it will not be at the level they are used to.

“These organisations are doing really good things in the community an I’m going to support them. That may be in officers’ time to help them to get the correct funding from the correct place and not Redditch Borough Council. They cannot keep falling on Redditch Borough Council.

“A lot say they are doing services the council should be doing – they are not. They may be doing something Worcestershire County Council should be doing and in that case I think they should be going to County Hall.”

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