Bolton Council will be holding a series of drop-in sessions to inform residents about the council’s budget for next year and how the council is managing its finances.
At the meetings, the Director of Corporate Resources will present the council’s financial position, as well as the need for making savings and efficiencies.
Due to the global recession and the Government’s plans to reduce the budget deficit, the council anticipates that the grants which it receives from the Government will significantly reduce. The council has to balance its spending with the income it receives from government grants, council tax and payments for services.
The council must deliver efficiencies and savings of around 40% over the next four years, which equates to around £15m for 2011-12. As part of the measures to save £15m for 2011-12, each department has been set a savings target. Adult Services must save £6.3m; Children’s Services must save £3.7m; Development and Regeneration must save £700,000, Environmental Services must save £2.1m and the Corporate and Chief Executives departments must save £2.7m.
This year, grants that the council receives were reduced by around £5m and so some projects had to be cut back or stopped.
As well as this reduction in income, the council also has to deal with other budget pressures that will increase costs, such as the cost of waste disposal, which could rise by 30% above inflation. These extra costs, on top of the reduction in grants, suggest that the gap the council faces between income and spending will be around £60m during the next four years.
The public meetings will look at this position in more detail.
The council’s statement of accounts – how much it spends and brings in – is also available on the council’s web site with printed copies available at libraries and one-stop shops. It summarises the council’s records for the last financial year April 2009 to March 2010.
Residents can come along to any of the meetings and will be able to give their views and suggestions on areas where they think the council can save money. The meetings take place on:
• Monday Nov 8 at 7pm at Trinity Church, Higher Market Street, Farnworth.
• Tuesday Nov 9 at 7pm at Leverhulme Primary School, Breightmet.
• Wednesday Nov 10 at noon in the Lancaster Suite, Bolton Town Hall.
• Monday Nov 15 at 7pm at Turton High School, Bromley Cross.
• Tuesday Nov 16 at 7pm at St. Catherine’s Primary School, Horwich.
• Monday Nov 22 at 7pm at Westhoughton High School
Councillor Linda Thomas, Executive Member for Corporate Resources said: “We anticipate that the grants which we receive from the Government will significantly reduce and must deliver efficiencies and savings of around 40% over the next four years. Each department has put forward a number of suggestions on saving money and we are currently consulting on proposals in a number of different areas.
We wanted to use our annual budget information meetings to inform people about why the council needs to make these savings and hear their views on how this might affect them. We would encourage them to have a look at our website or to come along to the drop-in sessions and find out more.”