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Gathering Views on Budget 2011

Friday 19th November 2010

Bedford Borough Council’s comprehensive, wide-ranging consultation on its budget proposals for 2011/12 continued apace this week with events seeking the views of the voluntary sector and local businesses. Over 90 Voluntary and Community Services representatives from across the Borough were in attendance at a meeting on Monday to discuss the Council’s proposals for saving over £10 million in 2011/12.


The Council was one of the first authorities in the country to put forward proposals for its 2011 budget. This is to give the Borough’s residents, businesses, voluntary and community groups, staff, recognised trades unions and everyone who uses the Council’s services, the opportunity to help shape the budget.


One of the propositions currently out to consultation is a proposal to review the way the Borough Council funds voluntary and community sector partners.


The Council is strongly aware of the importance of working with and enabling our Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) partners. As a result, there will be no overall reduction in the total amount of financial assistance grant being given to the VCS.


The Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, was present to listen to the views and to take questions from the VCS.


The Mayor said: “We are very keen to discover ways in which we can continue to support our VCS partners. We are an open and transparent Council and work collectively to secure the best possible outcomes for all parties.”


The objectives of the proposals are:

  • To provide greater transparency for VCS partners in terms of how to access funding through the Council
  • To streamline and simplify the application process
  • To simplify and ensure consistency in the accounting and associated performance management arrangements across the council where funding is provided; and
  • For a small number of “core partners” to be provided with longer-term certainty of funding (i.e. funded over more than a year)


Later in the day the Mayor, Dave Hodgson, and Cllr Michael Headleyheld a consultation session with local business figures. Individuals were invited in to the Council Chamber at Borough Hall, to chat about the Council’s response to the plans. The event was attended by approximately 20 local businesses and was a good chance for the Mayor to highlight plans for the 2011/12 budget, and to hear local businesses’ points of view.


Rod J Calvert OBE, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Bedford Borough Council has embraced economic growth as part of its core strategy. It is key that we balance both sides of the economic equation and in addition to cuts we create wealth and revenue through employment. By preserving the Economic Development budget, Bedford Borough Council is signalling strongly that Bedford is open for and encouraging business, a stance that the Chamber of Commerce fully supports.”


Full details of each of the proposals and how they can help the Council achieve a balanced budget can be found on the Council’s website: www.bedford.gov.uk/budget2011 (the website includes a detailed questionnaire to help collect local views).

The closing date for responses is 30 November 2010. This will allow any comments to be considered by the Council’s Executive on 8 December 2010.

The Council will formally consider the budget for 2011/12 at its Full Council meeting in February 2011.


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