‘CHALLENGING’ PERIOD AHEAD FOR COUNCIL

Outgoing Senior Manager for Finance Ben Barrett has told Members that they have a challenging four-year period ahead.

Ben made the comment as he delivered what he described as the Local Authority’s first medium-term financial plan for a decade at the meeting of Full Council on Tuesday.

 

He said: “We face some significant pressures, not only in this current year but we have a reasonably large savings requirement over the next four years of around £3.8m. We are not going to be able to do that by just cutting [services]”.

 

Councillor Gordon Bilsborough questioned whether Members really believe they could achieve such savings, deriding the proposition as ‘pie in the sky’.

 

He added: “We have to go to the government to say we have done everything we can but we need more money.”

 

Chairman Amanda Martin told Members: “We are working very hard to be constructive and innovative about how we move forwards. Government is listening to us but we have to keep on talking. This is an on-going debate."

 

The immediate concern for Councillors is finding a way to make £670,000 of savings in the first year, a result of a reduced settlement from central government to deliver public services.

 

Pressed on whether the Local Authority would be forced to cut back on services, Mrs Martin said: “It is highly likely but we are going to do it in as sensitive and careful manner as we can. This is part of the conversation we are having with Government.”

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