Councils announce budgets
Thames Valley councils are starting to work out how much they'll have in their budgets for the next two years.
It comes after the government announced spending cuts for councils yesterday.
Hampshire County Council will have £31 million (14.3 per cent) less for 2011/12, and a further £19 million (10.4 per cent) less for 2012/13.
In a statment to Heart Basingstoke and Deane Council Leader Andrew Finney said: “Despite the cuts in government grant, the savings the council has already made means it has been able to protect frontline services next year and avoid any reductions in grant funding. We know that residents are struggling to make ends meet themselves and so being able to propose a freeze in their council tax bill for next year will be very welcome to them."
“But in the years ahead the council will need to make very difficult decisions as we try to balance the budget, keep running the services that matter most to our residents and invest in the borough to ensure long term prosperity and protect jobs.”
Oxford City Council will have a loss of 14.8 per cent in 2011/12, and a further 11.5 per cent in 2012/13, which is a total of £3.8 million.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, says: “Our position over the next two years is very close to the estimates in the consultation budget.
"The settlement is only for two years and we are waiting for the final confirmation of our figures in January.
We are disappointed with the settlement but officers have worked hard to reduce spend and improve efficiencies which means our estimates were very close to the settlement figure."
Basingstoke and Dean council will have £347,000 less in 2011/12, with a further £303,000 (8.3 per cent) for 2012/13
Council Leader Andrew Finney said: “Despite the cuts in government grant, the savings the council has already made means it has been able to protect frontline services next year and avoid any reductions in grant funding. We know that residents are struggling to make ends meet themselves and so being able to propose a freeze in their council tax bill for next year will be very welcome to them.
But in the years ahead the council will need to make very difficult decisions as we try to balance the budget, keep running the services that matter most to our residents and invest in the borough to ensure long term prosperity and protect jobs.
Reading Borough Council isssued this statement:
“The Council has received details of the grant settlement from Central Government, but due to the major changes in funding arrangements this year we are still in a position where we are working through the figures before we can be completely clear on its full implications. The Council will give a detailed response to the settlement as soon as this process is complete."
West Berkshire Council will have £2 million pounds less to spend in 2011/12, and a further £3 million less in 2012/13
Executive Councillor, Keith Chopping, said: “It appears the challenge for next year is going to be greater than anticipated, but this Council has a good track record of handling difficult financial situations. We dealt efficiently with grant reductions in June this year, and we are conscientiously planning for the budget reductions that will be needed as we look further ahead.
“The system of government grants is somewhat complex, and we will not know exactly what is needed until we have the further detailed information from the Government, and analysed the figures.”
West Oxfordshire District Council will see a 13.75 per cent (£775,000) in their budget for 2011/12 and a further drop of 10.7 per cent (£525,000) for 2012/13.
Cllr Barry Norton, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council said: “Our aim is to minimise the impact of cuts to residents and uphold our reputation as one of the best councils in the country for providing high quality, value for money services. We already charge the second lowest district council tax in England and the government is helping us to finance a Council Tax freeze in this next year 2011/12. We have also negotiated a more comprehensive waste collection contract at no extra cost to taxpayers and which will boost recycling and reduce deposits in landfill.
“We will continue to work hard for the people we serve, but there are tough choices ahead as the money allocated is not enough to meet our costs. We will review our position as more information becomes available and the budget setting process progresses."
Buckinghamshire County Council will have 14.3 per cent (£11.1 million) less in their bidget for 2011/12 and a further 10.4 per cent (£8 million) less for 2012/13.
Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, David Shakespeare, said: "We were expecting roughly a 15% cut, and have been planning for reductions of that magnitude in the months leading up to this announcement. So, while no cut in income is ever welcome, this has not come as a surprise and we are as prepared as we can be for the inevitable impact this will have on services we provide.
"We will not have a full picture of the implications of our settlement for some weeks, and there's still much complex work to be done on unravelling the fine detail - but by and large, the measures we have in place are, thus far, in line with the financial constraints we are facing."