You Choose 2013
The public consultation (available here to
view) to help Bedford Borough Council achieve
over £8.7 million of savings gets underway on Monday 24th
Like councils up and down the country Bedford Borough Council is
facing major financial pressures due to factors including a
significant reduction in government funding, inflation and demand
for services and is therefore required to deliver £36million of
savings over four years.
Last year Bedford Borough Council was able to agree savings of
£23million over a 4 year period. Proposals this year again focus on
new ways of doing business that enable the council to continue to
provide high performing services. With just 5% of the savings
coming from changes in services this year’s proposals continue the
emphasis towards achieving back office savings, improved
procurement, generating more income and reducing the costs of
buying in goods and services the Council receives from
Achieving these savings is vital as the Council is legally
required to put together a balanced budget and is again striving to
protect council taxpayers.
The proposals were approved by the Council’s Executive on 12th
September. The Council is now carrying out a full and open
consultation with local residents as part of You Choose 2013.
Groups directly affected will be engaged in discussions with the
Council about the proposals.
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “By being open and
transparent with local residents we planned savings of £23million
over 4 years in last year’s budget proposals. However, like all
other local authorities we are still facing tough decisions as we
tackle an unprecedented funding gap of £36 million.
“We are continuing with our strategic, four year view and again
this year we are among the first local authorities in the country
to publish our proposals, which prioritise protecting front-line
services and focus savings on back office costs. We are
maintaining an early, open approach to consultation in order to
give residents a real opportunity to have their say on where and
how the savings are made.”
Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, added:
“The proposals identified this year total in excess of £8.7 million
of savings across all service areas with a continued focus on
cutting inflation, back office and bureaucracy costs. For
example, the proposals save £10,000 per year on postage costs alone
and over £160,000 on telephone costs. This covers the running costs
of Putnoe, Wootton and Bromham libraries for a year!
“The 2013-14 financial year carries even more challenges for
local authorities with changes to business rates and council tax
support. It is therefore absolutely vital that we robustly
investigate all opportunities and options to minimise the impact on
local residents and businesses across the borough.”
You Choose 2013 consultation closes on the 19th November. All
responses will be considered at the Council Executive which follows
on 5th December.
You can respond to the consultation in the following ways:
By post: CONSULTING BEDFORD
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone: 01234 228435
In person: At any Bedford Borough library or
Borough Hall reception.