Residents in Carlisle are being given the chance to have their say on how the city council can save millions of pounds.Read the full story ›
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Councillors will be asked to increase council tax in Carlisle by nearly two per cent - the first rise since 2009.
Carlisle City Council has to cut £3.5million from it's budget over the next three years.
Fifty jobs could be created in Carlisle as the city council has agreed to sell five acres of land on the Rosehill Industrial Estate.
The deal is thought to be worth up to £5 million.
There are plans for the land to be used for the development of up to ten commercial and retail units, as well as a 350 space pay-and-display car park.
Carlisle City Council set its budget for 2015/2016 at a Special Full Council meeting last night.
The Leader of the Council Colin Glover proposed the Executive’s budget, which was seconded by Councillor Les Tickner.
The council needs to make a saving of £1,211,000 in 2015/16 and £663,000 of this has already been achieved.
The following was agreed in the budget:
- ·Council tax has been frozen
- £0.5million for the Harraby School and Community Project
- · £390,000 for the Old Town Hall and Greenmarket improvements
- · £20,000 contribution for a proposed Sexual Assault Referral Centre
- · Car park charges have been frozen and in some cases car parking charges have decreased.
- · £114,000 has been allocated for the next two years towards the continuation of a rapid response team to keep Carlisle clean.
The council says it has had to make difficult decisions.
“We’ve had to make some tough decisions during the budget process but we have taken steps to protect frontline services.
"Substantial savings are required, but despite spending pressures, we’ve frozen council tax for the second year running and have allocated funding towards schemes that maintain Carlisle as a vibrant city."
Pete Moran, from the Cumbria Law Centre, has warned that dangerous levels of rent arrears and people struggling to get into housing are problems contributing to homelessness in Carlisle.
Although the homeless figure in Carlisle has remained steady for the last six years, the Cumbria Law Centre says more and more people are being pushed to the edge.
Homelessness is defined as not having a permanent roof, and about 1200 people fall into this category each year.
More than a third of all homeless people in Carlisle are aged between 16 and 24, and the charity argues that the problem is that they can't get into housing in the first place.
"People who are coming into dangerous levels of rent arrears is certainly a growing problem. That's a culmination of welfare reform and a difficult economic environment.
"We also see a lot of people who can't get into housing in the first place often quite young people with low paid jobs."
Carlisle City Council is currently working with local charities to finalise its plans to reduce homelessness. It will focus on the prevention of homelessness.
"Anyone at any time could find themselves homeless and what we're trying to do is prevent people from becoming homeless.
"If someone feels they're going to become homeless get in touch and we'll work with them and put a package together to help prevent them finding themselves on the street or homeless."
Councillors in Carlisle are discussing how to tackle homelessness in the city.
For the last six years, twelve hundred people have contacted the authorities for housing advice annually.
An average of 35 percent of those homeless in Carlisle are young people aged between 16 and 25.
Some of the causes of homelessness cited are:
- relationship breakdown (29%)
- loss of rented accommodation (22%).
Councillors in Carlisle will meet today to discuss the issue of homelessness in the city and how it can be tackled over the next five years.
The council claims that all key priorities outlined within Carlisle’s homelessness strategy for 2008-2013 were achieved.
Although the number of people sleeping on the streets is relatively low, the council believes that many people are forced to stay on friend's sofas.
It says housing provision in the city over the coming years will be an important factor in addressing homelessness.
The high rate of sickness among staff at Carlisle City Council is under the spotlight today.
The local authority will meet this morning to discuss why the number of people taking time off has gone up by more than a quarter since this time last year.
Stress and depression are said to be factors.