‘Council must save more’ - warning!

COUNCIL leaders have warned that they might need to save an extra £13.7 million.

And that assumes they are able to save the £29 million they have already identfied.

It means some very difficult budget decisions over the next three years, according to Calderdale Council leader Janet Battye, who has promised to continue taking residents views into account.

“We carried out extensive consultation last year, which made it clear that people wanted the council to maintain front line services, particularly those provided to elderly and vulnerable people.

“We will be using that information to help us make decisions about future spending,” said Coun Battye (Lib-Dem, Calder).

Her views were echoed by deputy leader Tim Swift (Lab-Town) who said all councils faced big changes in the way that they are funded, with far-reaching implications.

“Those changes, along with schools becoming academies, the introduction of a Local Council Tax subsidy scheme and the transfer of public health responsibilities from healthcare partners will all have a huge impact on local government finances.

“We are facing great uncertainty and enormous changes - we must act prudently now to ensure that we are ready to cope with the challenge,” he said.

Government funding for councils is set to reduce significantly in 2013/14 and in 2014/15.

According to the latest forecasts, it is estimated that the council will need to make further savings of £4.1 million in 2013/14 and £13.7 million in 2014/15.

The savings will be on top of the £29 million savings already planned to be achieved by 2013/14.

Council surveys supported maintaining front line services even if that meant increased charges or the introduction of charges in what residents saw as less essential services.