Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Council savings reach 2.5 million!

Budget savings without pain.

I am pleased to note that bosses of South Tyneside District Council have managed to save just over 2.5 million pounds so far this year, and are on target to make identified savings of 4.7 million pounds by the end of the financial year. The savings have been made using a variety of methods including voluntary redundancies, a moratorium on recruitment, and some early retirements. An efficency and performance drive led to more value for money budgeting.

The great thing is the admission that the savings made between April and September of this year have had no detrimental impact at all on services.

As I argued at this same point last year, IT CAN BE DONE!

However, the 4.9 million pound overspend of last year has only been covered by taking money from reserve funds, and this will have to be replaced. If our political leaders and leading officers put their minds to it a budget could be formulated for next year with a reduction in overall spending. It would require, perhaps, a little pain to produce a lot of gain, and instead of chasing every award and prize for excellence and being the very best, perhaps we should just aim to provide the good standards which we have. There will be no complaints from the council tax payers if the Labour Group come up with proposals for a 'freeze' in council tax payments next year, if only to finally get the borough's finances in order.

The opposition parties on South Tyneside Council NEED to work together to help achieve this aim, the ruling group will respond only to strong, reasonable, and well thought out plans that make it plain to the electorate that the opposition can provide a real alternative to Labour.

The elctorate will be less than pleased if the Labour Party come asking us what size of increase we would like in our tax next year, especially if it is perceived to be needed to replenish the reserve fund and pay for the squandering of last year!

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