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Council must make over £10m savings in year ahead

by mikebell on 3 December, 2017

North Somerset Council, like many councils across the country, is facing a very difficult budget setting process for 2018/19.

Having already incorporated £90m of revenue savings into its budget since 2010, the continuing fall of government funding, along with significant increases in demand for social care services, mean the council will have to find further savings of over £10m next year.

Council officers have been working hard in recent months to identify potential areas where additional savings can be made. Because of the significant levels of savings already generated, the ability to drive further large scale savings has become increasingly difficult. The focus remains on transforming the way services are delivered and adopting a more commercial approach.

The council has kept council tax increases low for a number of years and has also accepted the government’s freeze grant on several occasions, both of which have enabled local residents to have a very low level of council tax compared to others. This also means that the council has a low tax-base, and is effectively being penalised, with less opportunity than other councils to address the shift in funding resources from government grants to locally-generated income sources.

By 2020, over 92 per cent of the council’s budget is expected to be funded through council tax and business rates income rather than through the revenue support and other government grants. The council’s strategic approach to long-term sustainable budgeting is to create a largely self-sufficient financial position by 2021.

Delivering structured growth of housing and business with the required infrastructure is key to this. An increased council tax base and more local business rates will reduce reliance on the inevitable declining funding from central government.

The Executive meeting where the council’s medium term financial plan will be debated takes place on Tuesday 5 December at 2.30pm at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare. The report is available on the council’s website. After this, members will have the opportunity to scrutinise budget proposals during December, and all savings proposals must also be assessed for the impacts they will have on recognised equalities groups.

The final budget will be considered again by the Executive on 6 February before the budget is set, and Council Tax rates agreed at the Full Council meeting on 20 February.

   2 Comments

2 Responses

  1. P Northway says:

    If the council can’t balance the books then I suggest they find someone who can. The recent parking revenue should help the council , failing that perhaps they should cut back on the highly paid staff at the top that cannot perform their jobs properly. Hitting the people of North Somerset with higher council tax whilst reducing the services offered to them is nothing more than defrauding the tax payer.

  2. John McLorinan says:

    Thanks for including me in your mailing list. Good news about WsM station. I really think it is full of character and worth looking after- if I need to get to Bristol when my bus pass not apply I take the early train ( pity about the overcrowding) I have a soft spot for the railway – my father was a G W R railway man up in the midlands….
    The fiscal situation seems bleak. My observations would be the same as in the national situation in some aspects. There is a need at national and local level to re examine priorities . I certainly think it is unfortunate that national government seems in so many areas to be washing its hands of / with local matters. I can now see more clearly the motivation to gain from parking charges – though I disagree with them. Again, as at national level, I think those with the means have to cough up more cash directly or indirectly. I do think N Somerset has been living fior some time in Fools’ Paradise with regard to the reluctance to increase the council tax.
    Thanks for your efforts
    JMcL

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