PUBLIC services in Harrow are going to suffer an extra £4 million worth of cuts, with the adults and housing department bearing the brunt.
These cuts come on top of more than £7million worth of savings already absorbed by town hall finances for 2010/11, when council tax was frozen by the outgoing Conservative administration.
The belt-tightening measures at Harrow Civic Centre have been prompted by a reduction of £3.95m in the amount of money the authority will receive from central government as part of the national austerity measures.
Leader of the council, Councillor Bill Stephenson (Labour) condemned the decrease, saying it 'threatens vital services', while the deputy leader of the Conservative opposition, Councillor Barry Macleod-Cullinane, said the Tory-Lib Dem coalition was being 'decisive' and 'tough'.
The majority of the £3.95m grant reduction is in the form of the halving of area-based grants, which are set aside for projects, such as St George's Day celebrations and breastfeeding initiatives, which are jointly delivered by two public bodies under the auspices of the Harrow Strategic Partnership.
It will be up to the partnership board to decide at a meeting on July 22 where the axe should fall in order to save the necessary £2.3m.
Meanwhile, Harrow's Labour administration has control over how to rein in spending to meet the £1.3m of the remainder, with the final £350,000 being lost in a severed business-specific grant.
Mr Stephenson has ruled out dipping into the council's reserves, giving the following indications of the pro-rata size of cuts each department will be asked to make: Adults and housing £455,000; children's services £220,000; community and environment £300,000; place shaping £40,000; chief executive's £100,000; legal and governance £40,000; and finance £145,000.
The council's cabinet committee will debate the proposed £1.3m savings at its meeting on Thursday and while Mr Stephenson would not be drawn on any of the detail, he said: "We're looking at a series of options and working through them, and we're trying genuinely to make savings that are not cuts.
"We're changing the way we're delivering services to save money and, in some cases, actually improve the service. We don't dispute the fact that our national deficit needs to be tackled but cutting budgets three months into the financial year is not the way to go and simply threatens vital services that have a huge impact on the lives of our residents."
Mr Barry Macleod-Cullinane said: "We're now paying the price for Labour's 13 years of waste and incompetence. The Conservative-led coalition is being decisive and is making the tough but necessary choices to sort the mess that Gordon Brown left the nation's finances in. That decisiveness of action seems to be something Councillor Stephenson is utterly lacking."