Council stays positive despite cuts in funding from Whitehall

BASSETLAW Council is remaining optmistic about the future – following the news it is facing a 20 per cent reduction in Government funding over the next two years.

The council is facing an overall year on year 8.9 per cent cut in revenue grants following communities’ secretary Eric Pickles’ announcement on 13th December about local government settlements.

But because of frontloading – cutting more in the first few years, it will lose £1.4m (12 per cent) of support in 2011/12 and a further 1m (11 per cent) in the following year.

Portfolio holder for finance and property Coun Terry Yates said the council had been getting ready for the 2011/12 budget for a long time.

“The council was and is prepared for the lower level of public sector resources that have been signalled by ministers since the emergency budget was announced in June,” he said.

“The Government will be providing a grant to councils which can respond to this situation and freeze the level of Council Tax they ask people to pay.”

“Bassetlaw will be aiming to do this for the second year running in 2011/12, having kept its Band D level of Council Tax at £152.62 since 2009.

Coun Yates said the council has been working hard over the past five years to improve service efficiency and minimise any increase in tax.

“In this time the council has been successful in improving services and making savings,” he added.

“So while there is now a target of £1m to find in 2012, the council has a record of making savings without having to cut services.”

He added: “Your councillors will be working hard in the next 12 months to achieve these savings and keep Bassetlaw a financially stable place.”

“The same cannot be said of a number of other councils which may have to take drastic action in some areas.”

But leader of the Labour opposition Coun Graham Oxby said the situation was far from ideal – even though Bassetlaw was in a relatively safer position.

“It’s bad news for Bassetlaw and we have now got a Tory council implementing Tory cuts for ideological reasons.”

“There was never any need for this. Over the last few years the council has slashed jobs and services and will now relish it even more,” he said.