TOWN and parish councils will have to raise precepts to provide services the local authority can no longer afford, it has been warned.
A budget report presented to the IW full council on Wednesday revealed the authority will need to make savings of £8.8 million during the next financial year, following a reduction in government funding of £23.6 million over the next four years.
A £3.2 million overspend has been forecast for 2013/14, although managing director and finance chief Dave Burbage said he was confident the authority could balance the books by the end of the financial year.
He said he could not emphasise enough the significant cuts in government grant being imposed.
Town and parish councils would need to step up, said Cllr John Medland.
"People have no idea how bad things will be, they need to be warned we have to look at drastic changes. Town and parish councils need to put up precepts by more than they would normally to deliver services we no longer can," he said.
But Cllr Geoff Lumley told last Thursday’s scrutiny meeting members were 'living in cloud cuckoo land’ if they expected town and parish councils to provide services.
Cllr Lumley warned the future looked bleak, given money would need to be spent on failing children’s services and supporting the Island’s elderly population, and said the council would have no choice but to make cuts.
Criticising the 'ill thought out and ignorant council tax freezes’, he said: "The paper talks about the requirement for significant reductions in services. I don’t think we’ve got much choice, frankly. I think for the first time in my life I’m not going to be on the barricades."
Council leader, Cllr Ian Stephens, said it was not all about cuts but about re-engineering services, seeking out examples of good practice and working with voluntary organisations, the health service and forging cross-Solent partnerships.