Tuesday 16 August 2022
15.4 C

Council asks which services should be reduced to save cash

Gedling Borough Council is facing a potential funding gap of £1 million and is asking the public for their views before it decides to make significant savings and cuts.

The council will launch a survey to canvass views from residents and businesses to help inform how it constructs its plan from 2023 to 2027.

The local authority revealed the survey as part of a delegated decision on June 27 – which means it took place outside of a council meeting.

It will go live on July 4 until the end of the month.

The council says its funding comes mainly from Council Tax, business rates, central government funding and income from service users.

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It says the current Council Tax for the average Band B property occupied by two or more people is £1,681 per year.

Of this, the council only receives £138, about 8 per cent. The rest goes to Nottinghamshire County Council, to the Police and Crime Commissioner and to the Fire and Rescue Authority.

In a report before the survey is launched, the council states: “Over the last decade, the council has had to respond to significant reductions in government funding, placing a greater reliance on local sources of funding (Council Tax).

“At the same time, we’ve seen increased demand for some of our services and rising costs in excess of funding available, a situation which has been worsened as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Since 2015/16 in total we have faced a 12.4 per cent reduction in our available funds making us the seventh worst affected council in England out of 341 Councils. For the previous two years, 2020/21 and 2021/22 Gedling was the worst affected council in England.”

The council says it has worked hard to make savings of £6m during this period and have planned to deliver £1m more by “doing the same for less money” and “doing things differently”.

“We are proud to have been able to maintain high quality of services despite these substantial funding cuts and to deliver good value for money services that our community deserves.

“However, our current budget forecasts indicate that, in the absence of any additional government funding, we will need to find another £1 million of savings in the future in order to fulfil our legal obligation to balance the books.

“We will not know if Gedling will receive any increase in its funding until later this autumn when the government announces how much funding councils will get,” the council added.

“This consultation focuses on the challenge we potentially face if additional government funding is not forthcoming, and we have to consider spending reductions to fill the potential budget gap of £1m.

“We want to be open and honest about this possibility. We need to consider that we may have to make some difficult decisions in the near future, but before we do this, we would like to hear your views on how we might close the budget gap.”

The council is therefore asking residents whether Council Tax should be increased above the current limit of 2.9 per cent.

It is also asking the public how comfortable they would be with spending reductions to the following services, which include community events, leisure and community centres, theatre and the arts, parks and playgrounds, economic regeneration and neighbourhood wardens and CCTV.

It is also asking for public opinion on how they would feel if there were cuts to the number of times it completes some of services each year such as waste collection and recycling and street cleaning.

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