Release date Thursday 8 January 2015. For immediate release
FOLLOWING Copeland Borough Council’s six-week budget consultation, the council’s executive has been considering recommendations for the 2015/16 spending today (January 8).
Copeland faces one of the largest budget cuts in the UK, following Government changes in how funding is allocated. This means the council needs to make savings to bridge an estimated gap in funding of £1.484 million in 2015/16.
Residents of Copeland were invited to have their say on the priorities in council services over the next two years, which have been taken into consideration when developing the budget proposals.
The council have already made over £6m in savings in the last four years. However, the aim is to continue to protect the most important services as far as possible with the latest budget proposals.
External auditors, Grant Thornton praised the council in their audit report for “good financial management”, as well as stating that members and officers have a good understanding and awareness of the financial environment and challenges facing the borough.
Despite cuts in funding announced by the Government, including the gradual phasing out over the next three years of the Revenue Support Grant – a key source of funding, budget recommendations include freezing hourly car park and allotment fees, as well as costs for cremations in Copeland.
Despite financial challenges, the council is committed to supporting people to stay in their own homes and has made the conscious decision to continue providing additional financial support to the Disable Facility Grants (DFG).
To allow residents the opportunity to access council services 24/7, the council is also committed to investing in developing the online provision.
Councillor Gillian Troughton, Copeland’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “Yet again we are one of the councils facing the largest budget cuts in the UK, and the budget proposals would achieve £1.484 savings which will enable the council to balance the budget for 2015/16.
“However, the projects for the next three years from 2016/17 will require a further £3 million of savings to be made, as the Government continues to cut council funding.
“This further £3 million of savings will put the essential services provided by the council at risk.
“We do have a plan in place to make the necessary savings, and through the consultation with the public there have been some good additional ideas highlighted, though some are unfortunately not within the council’s control.
“I can assure residents, we are working to identify how we can continue to deliver services to continue meeting the needs of our residents.”