Much has been said on the state of the national economy and as a result all local authorities from Lands End to John O’Groats are faced with making difficult decisions for the next financial year.
The economic situation across Europe has worsened and you only have to switch on the news or look at a paper to realise we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet. We didn’t get ourselves into this financial mess but we’ve got to be responsible for doing our bit to help the country get out of it.
This authority had begun the process of identifying efficiencies for the next financial year well before the current financial disaster struck and we were in a more favourable position than some others.
Around a third of the savings required of us have been achieved by our officers re-negotiating contracts and other corporate work stream initiatives which means that no leisure centres, arts or cultural facilities have had to be closed, weekly refuse collections are retained and we are proposing to ease the financial burden on hard pressed families by freezing Council tax, car parking costs and many other fees and charges.
Despite these tough times we still want to invest in the town and from within the Capital Budget the Conservative Administration is finding capital for the Cliff slip in the area where the proposed museum would go, for the Pier, our world famous landmark and for a much needed extra primary school and money to support our existing primaries under the pressure of higher pupil numbers.
Although we were required to make slightly less savings and efficiencies for the next financial year, no cost reduction measures are welcome or nice but we still have a responsibility to ensure that the authority lives within its means and remains sensible by not borrowing to fund day-to-day expenditure.