Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Council's cost cutting plans announced as funding slashed by government

Council leader Eileen Blamire: "The scale of these funding
reductions is unprecedented and there are
tough decisions ahead."
Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet has approved a series of service reviews which will seek to cut costs and increase income as the council looks to fill a budget black hole.

Due to Government funding reductions the council will have to make annual estimated savings of £3.5million by 2015/16.

All areas of service provision will come under the spotlight in the coming months and on Tuesday (5th November) Cabinet members approved the first three:

Salt Ayre Sports Centre and leisure services

This review will investigate the current provision at the sports centre and how savings can be made, as well as the longer term future of the sports centre and community pools.

Options will look to reduce the amount of subsidy required to run the centre by generating ongoing savings, and developing options for efficiency savings and service reductions.

Options will also be developed for alternative delivery models.  As well as keeping the centre in-house, this could include partnering with a private operator, charitable body, social enterprise or creating a leisure trust.

Management of parks, open spaces and public realm

This review will look at how the management of parks and open spaces could be merged with the council’s Environmental Services department, creating efficiency savings by removing duplication, and economies of scale. 

Options will also be developed for considering the future of Williamson Park’s cafĂ© and butterfly house.

Regeneration and Planning (including communications, marketing, tourism and events)

Specific areas to be reviewed will include the provision of events, tourism, the district’s Visitor Information Centres, communications and marketing activity. The review will focus on reducing costs in all service areas, transforming the service delivery of visitor information and increasing income from council operated venues and events.

In respect of regeneration projects and economic development, the review will look to reduce costs but priority will given to maximising external investment opportunities to ensure that capacity is retained for economic and housing regeneration.

Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt as to the scale of savings we have to make and over the coming weeks and months every area of the council will come under scrutiny as we look to tackle this huge black hole in our finances. 

"The scale of these funding reductions is unprecedented and there are tough decisions ahead."

“While we will be able to make some savings through working more efficiently and effectively, these will not balance the books by themselves.  Inevitably we will have to reduce or stop some services will be reduced or stopped and many others will be done differently. Through these reviews we will be looking at all available options and in two years time the council will look very different to the way it does today.

"Beyond that the situation is not sustainable unless the council is spared further funding cuts and handed greater financial freedom in which to operate.”

No comments: