Council approves £46m budget cuts

BUDGET cuts of £46.5million for 2011/12 have been approved by Northumberland County Council’s full council meeting.

The agreed budget sets out net spending of £479million and at least £45million of efficiency savings that are needed in order to produce a balanced and viable budget.

Crucially, despite the financial challenge faced by the authority, key frontline services including libraries, schools and leisure centres have been protected from cuts, with many of the savings coming from back office functions.

More than £1.7million pounds a year, over five years, has been saved by a review of the senior management structure. At the same time, every service at the authority has been examined to see whether it can be delivered in a more efficient and effective way.

In recognition of the financial hardship facing many local residents, the county council’s element of the council tax will remain frozen for the coming financial year.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Cllr Jeff Reid said: “The economic recession and national cuts in public spending have created an unprecedented and very challenging financial situation for councils across the country.

“It has been a long and hard road to balance the budget and some tough decisions have had to be taken along the way.

“We have looked very carefully at how we can reduce expenditure, increase income and make efficiency savings while minimising the impact on frontline services, residents and council staff.

“It is inevitable, given the level of savings required, that some cuts have had to be made however, protecting frontline services has always been a top priority for us and the council’s investment in key services such as highways, children and young people, adult services, leisure and libraries remains strong.”

A full copy of the report, including a detailed break down of all savings can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk/budget