Council spending cuts are adding up

THE council has already saved nearly £11 million of the £15 million it was aiming for in 2011/12.

Most of it has come from price rises, staff cuts and new ways of working.

“Good progress is being made but the remaining savings are probably the most challenging to deliver,” according to Calderdale Council’s head of finance Pete Smith.

“Action plans have been produced by directorates which are being used by the council leader, portfolio holders and the chief executive in their regular meetings to monitor progress.”

Of the savings which still need to be made, most involve raising additional income, contracting efficiently, alternative delivery systems and further staffing reductions, said Mr Smith in a report to the resources panel.

As a result of the austerity budget agreed in March, the council expects to spend about £182 million this year.

So far, about 200 council jobs have been lost, fees and service charges have risen above the rate of inflation and councillors have taken a five per cent pay cut.

About £1.5 million has been saved by not increasing staff pay and National Insurance contributions in line with inflation.

Most of this year’s savings will be carried through to 2012/13 when the savings target rises to £23.7 million and to £29 million in 2014/14.

One dark cloud on the horizon is the possibility that some departments might not meet the savings targets they have been set for this year and could overspend by as much as £1.6 million, due mainly to increased demand for services.