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Theatre and swimming pool to have funds slashed?

Thanet council could slash vital funding to Margate’s Winter Gardens and put plans for a new swimming pool in Ramsgate on hold, as it feels the financial pinch.

Financial bosses warned residents that “nothing is off the agenda” as they attempt to make savings of more than £500,000.

They blame a 60 per cent increase in the price of electricity and the rising cost of fuel, required for front line services such as refuse collection and street cleaning, for part of the budget shortfall.

The council says major savings could be made by reducing the £400,000 annual cost of subsidising the Winter Gardens.

Thanet Leisure Force, which operates the area’s leisure centres and swimming pools, could also see cuts to its £790,000 annual subsidy.

Cllr. Martin Wise, cabinet member for finance, admitted that a programme to rebuild the Ramsgate swimming pool is “likely to be suspended in the short term”.

He said: “We need to see how many of these leisure services are a real priority.

“They won’t be closing down but we will be looking at the way they operate.

“Wherever the council is spending money, we will be looking to see if this expenditure can be cut.”

Thanet council intends to pin the increase in its council tax at 4.5 per cent or under in 2009.

It added that staff redundancies were not currently planned.

For the full story, see this week’s Thanet Extra, out from Wednesday

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