The people of Birmingham need to lower their expectations of the city council and be prepared to look elsewhere for services as austerity cuts continue to bite, a public meeting has heard.
Council Labour leader Sir Albert Bore, his deputy Ian Ward and chief executive Mark Rogers, all spoke of "lowering demand" for council services ahead of a further £250 million worth of cuts over the next two years.
The trio were being quizzed by the Government-appointed 'Independent Improvement Panel' which has been set up to oversee the changes to the council in the wake of last year's damning Kerslake report.
They were challenged over reduced opening hours at the Library of Birmingham, which have seen hundreds of people turned away as it is closed for large parts of the week, as well as cuts to adult social care.
Coun Bore said: "We need to reduce demand for services. The Library of Birmingham was costing £22 million a year, that is more than the whole economic development department - covering planning, skills and business support."
He warned that, with no end to austerity, there could be more cuts to come next year.
Coun Ward added: "We need to have a clear conversation with the people of this city about the future role the council will play in their lives and the need for more community resilience."
And chief executive Mark Rogers said they would focus resources on the most vulnerable but added: "We have moved beyond the easy measures to do with efficiency and have to make serious decisions."
Oppostion Conservative leader Robert Alden rebuffed criticism the Government cuts were to blame and argued the quickest way to reduce poverty, benefits and demand for services was to grow the economy.
The panel, chaired by Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust chairman John Crabtree, was keen to urge the council to continue at pace with its transformation.
Much of the work revolves around the way the authority is run, its workplace culture, the way it needs to be more open with partner organisations and communities and more long-term financial planning.
Mr Crabtree said everyone in the city had a role to play in helping the council improve and stressed: "We do have unprecedented financial constraints but we are looking to these three people for leadership."