Leader warns of inevitable cuts

MULTI-MILLION pound savings being planned by North Somerset Council are likely to impact communities in towns and villages, its leader has warned.

Councillor Nigel Ashton delivered the stark message after predicting savings of �42million were needed from Town Hall budgets over the next four years.

Among those to be hit by the inevitable cutbacks include community services and council employees.

He said: “Much work has been going on in recent months to prepare us for the financial challenges we face.

“The spending review means we are currently preparing for savings of �42 million over the next four years.

“This scale of reduction is as bad as we expected and communities, residents and employees will feel the difference.

“However the actions we have been taking over the past three years and those we have been specifically working on since the cutbacks were first announced, put us in a better position to cope with these cuts.”

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The local government financial settlement for the council will be announced at an executive meeting on December 14.

At the same meeting a draft budget will be considered, with a final one for the next financial year to be signed off in February.

Councillor Ashton said: “Our aim, where we can, will be to redesign services rather than simply cut them.

“Streamlining and efficiency measures and working with local communities where possible will be our priority but some cuts are inevitable.”

Two examples of cost-saving already implemented by the council include the outsourcing of departments and review of the district’s library service.

The council signed a 10-year �85million agreement with Agilisys to run services such as ICT and payroll in a bid to save �16million.

It also carried out a district-wide library review which proposed the closure of three libraries.