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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > September 2011 > Modernisation consultation

Modernisation 2012: Local views sought

The public consultation to help Bedford Borough Council deliver £36million of savings over the next four years is now underway.

 

At its meeting on the 14th September the Council’s Executive put forward a range of proposals for local people to give their views on before it makes a final decision about how to make the savings.

 

The consultation ends on 21st November 2011

 

Bedford Borough Council, like all local authorities, is facing an unprecedented challenge in overcoming the shortfall in funding it receives while still maintaining vital services for local residents. The Modernisation Programme includes 206 proposals to help the Council find £36million of savings over the next four years. It needs to do this in order to balance the amount of funding it receives with the amount that is spent on providing services. The Council’s net budget is £129 million. 

 

Bedford Borough Council is one of the first local authorities in the country to consult with local residents and ask for their views on how we can tackle the funding gap. The same approach was used in setting the budget for the current financial year and with the help of local residents identified savings of £16million.

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “We face an unprecedented challenge in overcoming this vast funding gap, and we are consulting early and openly on proposals to help us to do so. We are required by law to deliver a balanced budget, and this will require £36 million of savings over the next four years. We want people to have their say in order that we can work together to make the savings in the fairest possible way.

 

“By consulting on proposals for the coming four years we want to provide certainty and stability across the period.

 

“Some of our proposals are to save a couple of thousand pounds while others identify a couple of million pounds. Now, we are asking local residents to look at these proposals and tell us what they think.”

 

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, added: “Our first priority has been to identify savings from back office costs and other aspects of the Council which will have minimal or no impact on services.

 

“However, this funding gap is unprecedented and despite our priority of protecting vital services, it is impossible to avoid some savings in service areas.

 

“It is also worth pointing out that we are not looking at some of the cuts identified by other authorities. We are not closing any libraries and we are maintaining our mobile library service. We are also continuing our subsidies for rural bus services as well as extending much of the urban service to run until 11pm. Also, we are not proposing to close any of our children’s centres.”

 

The public consultation now runs until 21st November 2011. Responses will then be considered by the Council Executive on 7th December, before the final budget is discussed in February next year.

 

You can respond to the consultation in the following ways:

 

Online: www.bedford.gov.uk/budget2012

By post:

CONSULTING BEDFORD
FREEPOST ANG5840
BEDFORD
MK40 1ZD   

By email: consultingbedford@bedford.gov.uk

By phone: 01234 228435

In person: At any Bedford Borough library or Town Hall and Borough Hall reception.


 

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