Frontline services protected despite budget cuts, says council leader

WILTSHIRE Council leader Jane Scott said the council’s proposed budget for next year will protect front line services, despite making cuts of £27million.

The council has received a cut in funding from central government or £9.8million, or three per cent, for 2013/14.

The amount of savings the Tory-run council proposes to make is £27.6million.

The council made savings of £32million this current financial year and £33million the year before as part of the cuts to public spending by the Government.

In the next financial year the council is proposing to cut 200 jobs, although cllr Scott said some of the affected posts were vacant while others were filled by agency staff.

Since it became a unitary council in 2009 it has cut 614 posts, including the chief executive and two corporate director posts.

The savings of £27million include £4.5million in buying in services, made through measures such as changing the highway contract, and £10.3million in efficiencies across services.

Cllr Scott said moving from five councils in Wiltshire to one meant it had better buying power and was the reason why it was managing to make savings in back office functions.

The year after next the council is predicting making savings of £22.5million and cllr Scott admitted it was getting harder to reduce costs in the back office.

She said: “Year on year it will become more difficult and I don’t think we have got to the worst bit yet.

"Public services will be hit in the new spending review so we have got to plan for that.

"I think I’m confident for the next couple of years that we can manage it.”

She said the council would have to increase working with other organisations such as the police and the new Clinical Commissioning Group to save money across public services.

She added that the council would be encouraging more people to volunteer to assist services such as good neighbour schemes and maintaining public rights of way.

The council’s reserves are predicted to be £12.5million at the end of March after using £1.7million this year for looking after children in care.

Some fees and charges for services will rise by 2.6 per cent while the average rent increase for council housing tenants will be £2.92 per week, or 3.4 per cent.

The Cabinet’s proposed budget will be decided on at a full meeting of Wiltshire Council on Tuesday.

Comments (3)

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3:40pm Wed 20 Feb 13

gingin says...

What will happen when the line of volunteers dry up? I applaud the voluntary workers but you can't run Wiltshire on such a scheme.

There will come a time when cutting back and making savings will radically affect front line services!
What will happen when the line of volunteers dry up? I applaud the voluntary workers but you can't run Wiltshire on such a scheme. There will come a time when cutting back and making savings will radically affect front line services! gingin
  • Score: 0

1:35am Thu 21 Feb 13

IanMcL says...

Where does the Front Line start and end?

The Early years team which helped with a grant and real expertise is being decimated. No one left to really help with the set up of new nurseries for the 3- 5 year olds who are guaranteed 15 hours a week free, by Government and those 'vulnerable' 2 year olds who also receive funding.

Private sector to milk the system?
Where does the Front Line start and end? The Early years team which helped with a grant and real expertise is being decimated. No one left to really help with the set up of new nurseries for the 3- 5 year olds who are guaranteed 15 hours a week free, by Government and those 'vulnerable' 2 year olds who also receive funding. Private sector to milk the system? IanMcL
  • Score: 0

4:58am Thu 21 Feb 13

karlmarx says...

Spire FM (great radio station)

Quote:
"One in ten childen in the Salisbury constituency are living in poverty, according to a new report.
The figures show just how many young people are affected here and what's being done to stop it.

The report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty shows that in John Glen's parliamentary area 10% of youngsters are in households below the bread line."

Let's look beyond the £'s and cuts and see the reality of life for some in Salisbury. Should we be celebrating saving £'s or hanging our heads in shame? Are these children the next generation to be marginalised and written off as spongers and benefit fraudsters?
Spire FM (great radio station) Quote: "One in ten childen in the Salisbury constituency are living in poverty, according to a new report. The figures show just how many young people are affected here and what's being done to stop it. The report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty shows that in John Glen's parliamentary area 10% of youngsters are in households below the bread line." Let's look beyond the £'s and cuts and see the reality of life for some in Salisbury. Should we be celebrating saving £'s or hanging our heads in shame? Are these children the next generation to be marginalised and written off as spongers and benefit fraudsters? karlmarx
  • Score: 0

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