Around £60 million of savings will need to be made by Dudley Council over the next three years, budget proposals released today have revealed.
Budget proposals which will go before the council’s cabinet on October 30 set out proposed savings of £25.8 million by 2016/17 but council chiefs have acknowledged there is still more work to be done.
And finance bosses have promised to “leave no stone unturned” in looking to find inventive ways of making further savings and delivering services.
Councillor Pete Lowe, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said:
“We have worked extremely hard to successfully propose a budget which makes significant savings while looking to protect council services that people most value. We will again be going out to consult with the public to ensure we continue to set budgets in accordance with the views of the public.
“The reality is that we received a settlement from national government in the summer which was considerably worse than anyone could have planned for and it leaves us with more work to do. I can assure all borough residents and council staff that we will leave no stone unturned in trying to find inventive ways of making savings to ensure services can continue to be delivered.”
Councillor David Sparks, leader of Dudley Council, said:
“As a low tax, low spend authority it is hard for Dudley Council to find savings as there are fewer areas for us to find the additional money. We will continue to explore ways of delivering services innovatively and continue our commitment to keep compulsory redundancies down to a minimum.
“The work we have done means we have put forward proposals to save around £26million in addition to £42million of savings made over the previous three years. But due to the fact the situation has got even worse nationally we know there is now another £32million to find in Dudley.”
In the budget report, savings of £8.6million are proposed for 2014/15, moving up to £17.5million by 2015/16 and £25.8million by 2016/17. But the report also shows that there will be a further £32.4million deficit in funds by 2016/17 if additional savings are not found.
Cabinet will also consider a report on how the figures for 2013/14 demonstrate an ongoing commitment by the council to minimise job losses. They will be asked to approve a voluntary redundancy programme for 2014 in order to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
Over the last three years there have been 544 voluntary redundancies, equating to 378 full-time equivalent jobs and compulsory redundancies have been kept down to 77 (66 full-time equivalent posts). This year’s budget proposals impact on a further 169 full-time equivalent jobs, potentially rising to 334 by 2016/17.