Bolton Council has frozen council tax for the next year to support hard-pressed local residents.
The council also approved the budget for 2015, which included savings in services of £43m between 2013 and 2015. This will include carrying out 24 service and funding reviews; the implementation of a digital, corporate support service; establishing an arm’s length company for some adult social care provision and delivering environmental services in partnership with Wigan Council.
The council also approved using £14m of one-off revenue and capital funding for a variety of projects across the borough, including highway repairs, road safety schemes and improving the environment. The council will invest £5m in highways including residential roads and pavements, as well as £0.5m to improve road safety in the vicinity of schools. It will also invest £1.5m to improve the environment in Bolton, including tackling flytipping and increasing enforcement across the borough.
The council will also contribute £2m of funding towards the redevelopment of the Octagon, £4m towards a new leisure centre in Horwich and a further £1m to enhance sport and social activities for young people and adults.
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council said: “In setting this year’s budget and council tax, the council faced a series of difficult and complex decisions, all of which will have an impact on the citizens of this borough. It has therefore been necessary to strike a balance between protecting important services and recognising that household finances are under a great deal of pressure. After considering all the options and listening to residents, we made the decision to freeze council tax and make up the gap in funding with some one-off money available to us this year.
We will also be using one-off revenue and capital funding to meet some pressing needs such as highways repairs, environmental clean-ups and road safety schemes, as well as improving the leisure and cultural offer in the town through investment in the Octagon and a new leisure centre in Horwich.
In order to make further savings of £43m, we will be reducing management and administration costs wherever we can to protect frontline services. We will also be protecting the most vulnerable and so will be looking for lower levels of savings from adults and children’s services. Finally, we will also be protecting green space provision like grass cutting and street cleansing because they’ve already had a major reduction in services.
The council estimates that up to a further 500 job losses will be required as a result of these changes. The impact of these reductions will be mitigated by allowing employees to take early retirement or voluntary severance, and offering a comprehensive redeployment period for those who face redundancy.