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Council faces major budget challenges

Published on Wednesday, 22nd November 2017

At tonight’s meeting, Cabinet approved some £708,876 of savings to the Council’s budget for the next financial year. Such drastic cuts are necessary as a result of increased demand on services and nearly a decade where the Council’s Government grant has been repeatedly slashed.

The Council is legally bound to make the books balance and with further reductions in Central Government funding, there is a need to address an overall shortfall of £1.152m. In addition to the savings just approved by Cabinet, there is still a further £443,000 to be found; Cabinet members are working with officers to explore options and will consider the position at the February Cabinet meeting.

The Council found itself in a similar position last year when £1.2m had to be found to achieve a balanced budget. Since 2010 Nuneaton and Bedworth has experienced reductions in core government funding of around 60%.

The budget cuts approved by Cabinet tonight include a small number of redundancies and the loss of further posts that are currently vacant. Some services will have to be scaled back and others will no longer be able to be maintained.

There are plans to externalise several services, including the Council’s climbing tower and the Pest Control service. There are also new charges for a second green bin.

Cllr Dennis Harvey, Leader of the Council said:

“Faced with such severe Government cuts, the scale of the task ahead is eye-watering.

“Our absolute priority is to protect front line services and jobs as far as possible.

“Cabinet members are working hard with officers to explore and consider every possible option. We’re a resourceful Council and have a strong track record in  developing alternative income streams wherever possible; however, given the sheer scale of the savings we need to achieve next year we have been unable to protect all services and staff as we would have hoped.

“It’s a sad day for us all; it really hurts to take these decisions. We’re a well-run authority with an excellent financial management record. We have been independently rated as one of the best performing local authorities in the UK in terms of efficiency; because we are so lean we have no alternative but to make cuts to some services.”

The full Cabinet agenda and associated reports can be found on the Council’s website.