A SQUEEZE will be felt across Herefordshire’s public services as the county council plans savings of more than £14 million in the year from April.

This is to produce a balanced budget, as it has to by law.

Its draft budget proposes widening the area of Hereford where on-street car parking charges will apply, details of which are expected shortly, and increasing car parking charges by 10p an hour, along with a“phased increase” in residents’ parking permit fees.

There are also plans to “maximise the effectiveness” of parking fines, while new roadside cameras to detect moving traffic offences will be brought in “across Herefordshire”.


True Independents leader Coun Bob Matthews said at last week’s (January 26) cabinet meeting that the measures “will put more pressure on the motorist”.

“If you want to get the motorist out of the city centre, you provide park-and-ride on the outskirts, you don’t purge people coming in from rural areas,” he said.

“We have to manage our spaces, it’s a balance,” cabinet member for transport Coun John Harrington replied. “We have plans for better park-and-ride. The Hereford masterplan will allow people who need to use their cars to come into the city and park. We are talking about inflationary rises primarily.”

Ledbury Reporter: The council says it has plans for a better park-and-ride service for people who want to come into Hereford by bus rather than carThe council says it has plans for a better park-and-ride service for people who want to come into Hereford by bus rather than car (Image: Rob Davies)

The council will also save £80,000 from not collecting household bin collections on bank holidays, which will “slip a day” instead. And there will be higher charges for commercial and bulky waste collection.

It also aims to raise £50,000 from a trial scheme of issuing fixed penalty notices for littering.

But the biggest savings are to come from within community wellbeing, the department which includes adult social care and which consumes over a third of the council budget. Here, £6 million is to be saved through employing permanent rather than agency staff, and from more efficient working practices.

The children and young people department, the council’s second costliest, is to make a further £4.5 million in savings, partly by phasing out costly agency staff.

It also aims to cut the number of children coming into care, recruiting more foster carers, and “tight control of high-cost placements”.


In December the council revealed that the 50 children in residential care in the county cost it nearly £170,000 a year each. A report by a Government commissioner on the department’s fitness to continue under council control is due to be published any day.

The council also hopes to save £300,000 in the year ahead by vacating offices which are expensive to run or energy-inefficient. It will save a further £100,000 by publishing its thrice-yearly Herefordshire Now newsletter online only. And £20,000 will be saved by cutting staff mobile phone use.

The council earlier signalled its intention to raise council tax by the maximum 5 per cent from April, so increasing the total it gets from this from £120 million to £127 million. Business rates of more than £40 million and various Government grants make up the county’s total forecast income of £193 million.

Conservative group leader Coun Jonathan Lester told the cabinet meeting his 14-strong group would “struggle to support” the council tax rise, and denied that the council was being starved of central Government funding.

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“In 2019 this council received £12 million towards roads maintenance, last year it was £15 million, so since 2019 the council has had £63 million,” he said.

“So saying that the Government has not supported councils where they need it is not an accurate picture.”

To which Coun Harrington said: “The capital funding we still get for road surfacing has seen a 33 per cent reduction in real terms since 2011. And the revenue has almost completely gone.

“The county is crumbling, and we cannot function without government support. And why should we? We’re not an independent kingdom, we’re part of the United Kingdom, and should be funded fairly.”

The planned budget must be approved by a full meeting of all county councillors on Friday (February 10).

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