National government spending cuts are continuing to be felt by Councils across the country. By 2020 we will have had a 55 per cent reduction in the government grant we have received since 2010 - the equivalent of £120m a year.
We have a number of proposals where we think we can make the savings as we are legally required to have a balanced budget.
We are opening up another round of early retirement and voluntary redundancy across Council staff. Our wage bill remains the biggest area of Council spend and it makes sense to give people the opportunity to leave if they want to and if the service can manage without the post in the future.
The proposals in the pre-budget report include a reduction in grounds maintenance in parks and street cleansing; a reorganisation of household waste collections; and savings identified in school transport. The full list is outlined in the Cabinet Report.
We would also like to emphasise that as an organisation we also need to play our part in shaping the economic growth of the city.
That’s why we have a number of big development schemes underway including: the work around Whitley to assist the Jaguar Landrover development; the Friargate development; city centre public realm work, and the new water park leisure centre in the city centre.
The money for these projects will also form part of our budget but can only be used for these programmes - and not on day to day council services. However, these projects will ensure ongoing regeneration in the city. In the long term this will assist with job creation, and will help to keep money in the city through business rates growth.
Over recent years our organisation has had to adapt to ongoing reductions in funding and this will continue in the foreseeable future. There is no doubt that these are challenging times for local government and we will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks.The consultation period on the budget proposals will begin on 29 November for eight weeks. The consultation runs until Friday 27 January.