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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Council wants your budget-saving ideas

EVERY day, day after day, the county council delivers over 800 different services; services that are understandably taken for granted.

EM Eddie Martin column
Eddie Martin

Some we have to do in law, others are discretionary. But they all have to be paid for. Thus far, over the past two years, we have managed to reduce our spending by £64 million without seriously affecting or reducing the ‘front line’ services. We have done that not by reorganising but by re-engineering; finding new ways of doing things and by getting better value out of the many contracts we let.

We have examined every department in order to squeeze costs. That has not been easy. I am very pleased with how council staff and members have managed and are managing; by doing things differently and more efficiently.

Despite the tough times there have been huge successes for the council this year: several new bridges; four state-of-the-art, new fire stations; contract signed for rural broadband, millions invested in the Port of Workington; welcome increases in the educational attainment of five-year-olds; opening of the Carlisle Northern Development Route; winning North West Employer of the Year for our apprenticeship scheme, new academies, investment in dementia facilities ... we could go on and on.

We have recently launched our budget consultation document. You can view this on the county council website, or in your local library. This contains proposals for how we can and must make even further savings in 2013/14 – over £20m worth to be more precise!

And that may not be the final figure; we’re still waiting for details from central government before we will know the full financial picture.

So we want to know what you think we should do; where we can find more cost savings.

Which of our many services we provide could we or should we reduce? The ideas included in our consultation have been put forward by council officers and members. While some of changes are small, taken together they all add up to a considerable amount.

Additionally this year we are specifically asking you whether we should accept the government’s third-year offer of a grant that would allow the council not to increase the Council Tax in 2013/14.

If we accept the offer the government will give us £2m; on the other hand we could put the council tax up by two per cent which would realise £4m.

If we accept the government offer, we actually end up having to find that extra £2m of savings; but if we don’t we will all see a rise in our Council Tax. What do you think we should do?

Remember we make decisions in your name but consultations like this are a great way for you to make sure your councillors know how you feel and what you value most. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have your say

Why do comments on Eddie Martins pieces get knocked back?
No doubt this one won't because it's only asking a question about the behaviour of the mods n Mail!

Posted by Tony on 4 December 2012 at 21:23

Or you could cut your costs by another £2m thus negating the need for the grant nor the need to squeeze the pips of the taxpayer ever harder.
Just saying...

Posted by Tony on 3 December 2012 at 13:09

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