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Next year will see 'deepest cuts' to Walsall budget

The leader of Walsall Council has warned that next year's budget cuts of £29.2 million will be the harshest over the coming few years.

A further £57m will then have to be slashed from future budgets as part of a four-year savings plan ending in 2019.

Walsall Council leader Sean Coughlan has warned next year will see the 'deepest' cuts Credit: Walsall Labour party

Council leader, Councillor Sean Coughlan, said:

As I've said before, next year will see the deepest of cuts over our four year budget plan.

Faced with £47 million funding reductions from central government and the limitation on council tax increases, our hands are tied and it hasn't been easy.

But our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable people and to do what we can to continue making Walsall a good place to live.

– Councillor Sean Coughlan, Walsall Council leader

What's under threat at Walsall Council?

As council chiefs in Walsall prepare to make more than £86 million of cuts over the next five years, a draft budget has been drawn up.

They include proposals to make savings in the following areas, among others:

  • 487 council jobs to be axed
  • Eight libraries to close
  • 12 Children's Centres to be shut
  • Walsall Museum to close
  • Bin collections to go from weekly to fortnightly
  • Charges introduced for green waste collections
  • £2 million to be saved from the youth services budget

The council also plans to review the council tax reduction scheme and the discounts on offer to residents, in the hope of saving an extra £3m.

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Consultation over £86m of council cuts begins in Walsall

A public consultation over £86 million of budget cuts at Walsall Council will begin today.

Walsall Museum is under threat as part of the plans Credit: Google Maps

The cuts, of which £29m will have to be slashed next year, includes hundreds of job losses and the closure of Walsall Museum.

The consultation will give people the chance to have their say on where the axe should fall in the next five years.

Man dies after crashing with police car

A man has died in a crash with a police car in Dudley.

The accident happened at the junction of Central Drive, Bridge Street and Martin Close in Coseley, at around 11am yesterday.

The man, believed to be a van driver, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened at at the junction of Central Drive, Bridge Street and Martin Close in Coseley Credit: ITV News Central

West Midlands Police said the officer had been driving a marked car and had been carrying out routine enquiries. He was not responding to an emergency at the time.

Central Drive was closed between Eachus Road and Sangwin Road for around five hours while emergency services attended the scene.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to the crash to come forward.

Crackdown on 'illegal and dangerous' car cruising

Council leaders in the Black Country say 'car cruising' has been a "bone of contention" for people and businesses in the area for several years.

It comes as bosses team up with police in a groundbreaking bid to ban boy racers from the region's roads.

Bosses say car cruising is 'illegal and dangerous' Credit: West Midlands Police

Wolverhampton City Council's leisure chief Councillor Elias Mattu said they were "determined" to put a stop to the problem.

The activities are not only wholly anti-social, but also illegal and dangerous, putting the safety of participants and spectators at risk - indeed, it's only a matter of time until more people are seriously injured or even killed.

Black Country councils and the police have received numerous complaints about car cruising - from dangerous driving to noise, verbal abuse and intimidation, and we are determined to do all we can to put a stop to this menace.

Our application doesn't just seek to prevent acts of dangerous driving, it also looks to tackle some of the wider problems caused by car cruising, from criminal behaviour such as drug taking and littering and the burden on police resources and the emergency services in the event of accidents, to personal costs to residents and businesses like sleep deprivation, obstruction, fear, harassment and intimidation.

– Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council

Boy racers could face prison if injunction approved

Boy racers could face up to two years in prison if a legal injunction to ban car cruising events is approved, police have warned.

So-called car cruising events have sparked dozens of complaints from businesses and residents, with dangerous driving and excessive noise from revving engines or stereos top of the list.

The Birmingham New Road between Wolverhampton and Dudley is a well-known car cruising hotspot Credit: Google Maps

Other reports revolve around littering, verbal abuse, swearing and intimidation as hundreds of people flock to watch illegal road races and compare cars.

Councils in the Black Country have now teamed up with West Midlands Police and hope to secure an injunction against "persons unknown" at the High Court in Birmingham, to stop car cruising from taking place.

Anyone suspected of breaching the injunction would be considered to be in contempt of court, which carries a potential prison sentence.

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Police increasingly concerned for missing 14-year-old

Police say they're getting increasingly concerned for the welfare of a 14-year-old boy from Sandwell who's been missing for a week.

Jacob Butler disappeared from his home in Rowley Regis on Saturday 4 October, but officers say he may have been seen on Kates Hill in Dudley since then.

Jacob is described as white, slim build, 5’2" with short straight blonde hair.

He was last seen wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit with a grey Adidas t-shirt.

His family are becoming increasingly concerned for his safety and wellbeing and urge him to get in touch as soon as possible.

Officers have been searching the local area and have also been speaking to Jacob’s family and friends to build a thorough understanding of the places he might visit.

Jacob, or anyone who has seen him, should call Sandwell police immediately on 101.

Black Country to benefit from £12m broadband project

It is hoped the project will help businesses across the region to become more competitive Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The Black Country will benefit from a £12m project to extend the reach of high-speed broadband to 98% of homes and businesses in the region within the next three years.

The scheme has been launched by the government, the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), BT and the government's Broadband Delivery UK.

It is hoped the project will help businesses across the region become more competitive and grow in the UK and abroad.

Small businesses across the Black Country identified slow broadband speeds as a barrier to growth so this partnership is great news for businesses in our area.

– Ninder Johal, Chair Black Country Broadband Group
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