Wolverhampton City Council's cabinet will next week (Wednesday 22 January, 2014) consider a report that would see funding to the city's voluntary groups reduced.

With the council having to make savings of £123 million over the next 5 years, a reduction in funding of £1.6 million to the voluntary sector is proposed.

The proposal was first made public last October and a consultation took place with the voluntary sector and the public between then and now.

The council is currently facing its most challenging ever financial situation as Central Government continues to reduce the grant it pays to Wolverhampton. Combined with rising costs and a greater demand on services, this is forcing the authority to make huge budget cuts.

If the Cabinet agrees the recommendations in the report, voluntary sector grants in the future will be based on projects that deliver towards the council's corporate priorities.

The full report going to next week's Cabinet can be viewed at Type=links;Linkid=3131;Title=the Wolverhampton City Council management information system website;Target=_blank;.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "It is with a heavy heart that I will take a report to Cabinet next week asking my colleagues to agree to cease funding some voluntary groups which do such valuable work in this city.

"As has been well documented, Central Government funding to this council continues to be slashed on a scale the likes of which we have never seen.

"Since 2010, this Government has reduced grants to Wolverhampton by 52% and we now must make £123 million of savings over the next 5 years in order to balance the books.

"The implications of this on the voluntary sector - people who give up their time to make life better for others - is going to be catastrophic, but we have no choice but to make difficult and unpalatable decisions like this due to a situation that has been forced upon us.

"I want to make it very clear that a loss of funding is in no way a reflection on the quality of work that these voluntary groups do. I want to pay personal and genuine tribute to them for their dedication and service to Wolverhampton and I am sorry that it has come to this.

"Those groups that we fund in the future will be those which are doing most to deliver our priorities - which is to protect the most vulnerable children and adults, to promote economic and social inclusion, offer training, employment and volunteering opportunities.

"I want the voluntary sector to know that we will not turn our backs on them. We will continue to fund 29 groups and for those who face losing money we will help them to secure other sources of funding if they want our assistance."

  • released: Thursday 16 January, 2014