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£140m budget shortfall threatens social care funding

  • Watch Sally Simmonds' full report below
Credit: ITV Meridian

A crucial meeting will be held later to decide where £140 million worth of cuts will be made in Hampshire.

Residents will find out today if vital services such as school crossing patrols, household waste recycling plants and transport will be affected.

It's thought millions will be lost from the social care budget.

Hampshire County Council needs to make the savings by April 2019.

Sally spoke to Janet Chierchia, carer and volunteer and Cllr Roy Perry Leader, Hampshire County Council, Con.

Campaign fights plans to merge children's centres

A campaign is underway in Hampshire to prevent the closure of dozens of children's centres. Plans currently being debated would mean 54 being reduced to just 11.

Sure start centres in the New Forest, Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, Winchester and the Test Valley are under threat.

Leading the fight is Catherine Ovenden who says her centre played a vital role when she was a new mum. Richard Jones reports.

Plans to merge children's services in Hampshire

Hampshire County Council is trying to save £98m Credit: ITV Meridian

A ten-week public consultation has started on plans to merge all children's services in Hampshire as the council tries to plug a £98m funding shortfall.

Under the scheme, fifty four centres would be reduced to eleven and 60% of staff would lose their jobs.

The council says the move would save eight point five million.

But campaigners who fought to keep the centres open when they were under threat in 2011 plan to protest

ITV Meridian spoke to Deputy Leader of the county council, Keith Mans.

Southampton councillors to try and balance budget

Southampton City Council needs to save £98m by April 2017 Credit: ITV Meridian

Councillors in Hampshire are due to consider how to balance the county council's budget later.

Its leader says it's facing its most "challenging period" - after forty eight million pounds was cut from the authority's government funding.

Campaigners protest over plans to cut £98m from Southampton's budget Credit: ITV Meridian

"We are facing the most challenging period of the prolonged national austerity measures. In Hampshire, this means having to deliver savings of £98 million by April 2017, rising to a further £140 million of savings by 2019/20."

"We have a strong reputation for careful financial planning, which has delivered £240 million of savings since 2008, but it's clear that having lost so much of our Government grant, future savings will become even harder to find.

"Our approach to date, has focused on running the County Council more efficiently by reducing the cost of back office functions; using savings to help protect front line services; and prudently using some reserves to manage the costs of change.

"We are proposing to continue applying these principles in the years ahead, as well as considering an increase in council tax for the first time in six years - an approach which was supported by the majority of people who fed back to us during our summer consultation.

"This option is being put forward because of the blow we received before Christmas when Government announced more drastic cuts to the local authority funding formula, which impact particularly badly on County Councils. This translates into a further £15 million gap in our budget by 2017/18 - and that's taking into account the amount we could receive if we put up council tax by just under 4% each year, in line with the Government's expectations. "The percentage includes 2% to help specifically fund adult social care - even though this only provides £10 million against anticipated costs of £35 million in adult social care, next year."

– County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry

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Hampshire County Council backs HIV Testing Week

Hampshire County Council is backing this week's HIV Testing Week in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of being tested, encourage HIV tests, especially amongst those most at risk, and increase the number of early diagnoses.

Over 100,000 people in the UK are living with HIV. Of these it is estimated that 1 in 5 do not know they have the infection and are at increased risk of passing the virus onto others.

Early diagnosis of HIV, timely treatment and support can mean a near-normal life span and better long term health outcomes.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said:

Although nationally the proportion of people being diagnosed late has reduced slightly we are hoping this campaign will further encourage those most at risk to get an HIV test.

In Hampshire, not only can people get an HIV test at their local sexual health clinic but they can also access Solent NHS Trust’s Quick Check service which is available at a number of community venues across Hampshire.

– Liz Fairhurst

For information on HIV testing in Hampshire visit HIV Lives website.

Armistice Day: Hampshire County Council remembers

Dozens of staff at Hampshire County Council have paid their respects to the fallen on Armistice Day. They gathered at the war memorial next to the Great Hall in Winchester before carrying out a two minute silence.

Among those paying tribute was Lieutenant Commander Keith Whitehead RD RNR, who has been a member of the Royal Navy Reserve for 29 years, and also a Chartered Building Surveyor working within Hampshire Property Services.

Lieutenant Commander Keith Whitehead RD RNR who works for Hampshire Property Services Credit: Hampshire County Council

“I wear a poppy badge all year to act as a constant remembrance to others and myself of the ultimate sacrifice made by servicemen and women over the years. In particular I want to remember the sacrifice made by my Great Uncle who was a member of the Hampshire Regiment (TA) and who died as a prisoner of war in 1917 while serving in Mesopotamia now known as Iraq.”

– Lieutenant Commander Keith Whitehead RD RNR

Flood clear up in Hampshire thought to cost £68 million

Basingstoke was one of Hampshire's worst hit areas Credit: ITV News

Hampshire County Council will today receive a report into the recent flooding.

It lists Basingstoke as one of the county's worst hit areas for the high levels of groundwater mixing with sewage which seeped into people's homes.

Some people still haven't been able to return.

The cost of dealing with the floods is estimated at £68 million.

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