Councillor Sam Dixon - Foreword on the consultation
Foreword by Councillor Samantha Dixon - Leader of the Council
Like all local councils, we have less money to spend on services. Budgets coming from the Government are getting smaller each year and demand for services is rising.
The future funding of councils remains uncertain and it appears further budget reductions are set to continue under current national arrangements.
These unprecedented cuts, at a time of escalating costs, are forcing some councils to the brink of bankruptcy. I’m glad to say we are not in this position because we have taken a planned and prudent approach, which is informed by your priorities.
In 2015, we consulted widely and your views have shaped our ambitious vision for a fairer, more prosperous, thriving borough – a place where everyone matters.
You told us to focus on supporting vulnerable people, and to run a well-managed council, with the budget guided by your priorities. This informed a four-year plan that aims to meet a £57 million gap in our budget but also gives us the financial stability to prioritise what matters to you.
Significant savings have been achieved already. A few examples of our savings include £2.4 million by making administrative functions more efficient, £1.9 million by reviewing and re-negotiating contracts and £1.4 million by maximising the potential to generate income.
We are now in the final year of this plan and most of our proposals are on track. This is a much better position than many councils but we cannot underestimate the number of tough choices we have had to make.
Circumstances continue to change and as demand on our services continues to increase, we need to make some small adjustments to our plan. This will involve finding additional savings so we can continue to help those in most need.
We believe these changes will have a relatively small impact on our residents but we want to hear your views. We also want to share some ideas for possible changes we could introduce in our next four-year plan from 2020.
Help inform the choices that your Councillors will make in February 2019, when they decide on the budget and Council Tax rate for the next financial year. This is one of the Council’s biggest decisions and influences how we organise and deliver services.
Your views are taken seriously and will help us to deliver your priorities. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.