Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Savings must be found as government funding cuts deepen.
SENIOR North Devon Councillors have warned that job redundancies are ‘inevitable’ as the council attempts to balance the books amid deeper government funding cuts.
And leader Brian Greenslade said the council would not rule out vacating the Civic Centre in a bid to help plug a £2million budget shortfall.
Councillor Greenslade said the council was looking ‘everywhere’ to come up with a savings plan. Staff are set to be briefed on the various options on Thursday next week.
He said: “We have already shed around 70 jobs and obviously there will be less people employed by the council by 2015/16 – it’s inevitable.
“We’re looking everywhere including moving out of the civic centre to a more cost effective building.”
During the Government’s last Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010, the council’s budget was cut by a third, around £3million.
And with a further 10 per cent funding cut announced in June, the authority will now be hit with a further £1.7million cut between now and 2015/16.
In real terms, the council estimates it will need to reduce its budget by around £2million in total.
Deputy leader Cllr Rodney Cann said: “Virtually everything is under consideration but we are optimistic about the efficiencies we can achieve.
“We are looking at radical solutions but one thing we’re trying to do is protect front line services such as waste and recycling.”
A report by Steve Hearse, interim joint head of finance said the council had managed to absorb the initial £3million hit ‘without significant detriment to service provision’.
But it adds that the further £1.7million funding cut would have ‘a significant impact on the council’s ability to retain services at current levels’.
Cllr Greenslade said there would be a period of consultation with members and staff to ‘firm up the proposals’.
He said: “We are in a phase of working up our options to find the £2million deficit and the executive committee will bring proposals to council in due course.
“It will be the end of the year before we’re in a position to make any formal decisions.”