Leicestershire County Council to make £79m savings

Leicestershire County Council is asking the public to comment on its proposals to save £79 million over the next four years.

Due to continued reductions in Government grant and loss of funding to academies, the council is proposing to:

  • Find £79 million of savings and extra income over four years
  • Use a Government grant to freeze Council Tax next year
  • Increase Council Tax by 1.5 per cent for each of the following three years
  • Stage further consultation next year to look at the shape and future of the council Byron Rhodes, the council’s deputy leader and resources spokesman, said: “We face a very challenging situation of reduced grants, increased demand for services and lots of uncertainties. “Although we’ve taken prudent decisions to balance our budget over the last four years, faced with further pressures, we have to save more and consider small tax rises in the next few years. But even that isn’t enough – we know from the Chancellor that austerity cuts will continue until at least 2018.  In the next couple of years, we will have to look at making radical changes to the shape of the council – the scale of the savings required means we can no longer find most of them from doing the same things more efficiently. We will have a breathing space over the next year to involve the public in how we meet the remaining £30 million of savings that are required in 2015/16 and 2016/17.”
    Last year, the council agreed to save £74 million over four years and it has saved £25 million of this so far. The latest proposals are to save £79 million over the next four years – of which £49 million has been identified. An estimated 1,100 full time equivalent council posts will go over the next four years, although compulsory redundancies will be lower, through staff turnover and vacancy control. The council has made 750 redundancies over the last three years.

Savings are required due to:

  • A £29 million reduction in Government grant over the next two years
  • Increased demand for key services, including social care for adults and children and waste disposal

Proposed areas for savings include:

  • £300,000 from rural bus subsidies (down from the original target of £1 million)
  • £2.5 million from restructuring the children and young people’s service

Efficiency savings proposals include:

  • £3 million from reducing senior management and administration
  • £16 million from reducing overheads and simplifying processes

Extra investment is also proposed in the following, priority services:

  • £1.7 million extra for children’s social care next year
  • £15.4 million extra for adult social care over the next four years

Capital investment proposals include:

  • £3 million extra from the Government for highway maintenance
  • £1.2 million to develop extra care accommodation in Blaby, in the first phase of a county-wide scheme

The council’s ruling cabinet will meet at 2pm on Wednesday, January 16th, to discuss the proposals.

People can comment on the proposals by visiting http://www.leics.gov.uk/budgetconsultation from January 11th until January 27th . The results will be considered by the cabinet on February 6th, before the full county council takes a final decision on the budget and Council Tax precept at 2.30pm on February 20th.

The latest financial plan is guided by the following principles:
Planning spending within the resources available.
Maximising the contribution from efficiency savings.
Being clear about priorities in terms of growth and service reductions that are needed.
Targeting scarce resources at those with greatest need.
Achieving value for money for Council Tax payers.

Source: Blaby Central Community Forum