03 February 2010>
Caerphilly county borough council is about to set its budget for 2010/11 and the Deputy Leader of Council, Cllr Colin Mann, has called for all political parties to work together to ensure the council is prepared to negotiate the tough financial challenges that lie ahead over the next 5 years.
This year (financial), the council have made a rigorous effort to engage with the public and employees of the council to help deal with difficult financial projections for council spending over the next five years, which is an anticipated £25 million reduction in spending.
In setting the tone for the budget seminar to be held on Wednesday 3rd February, Cllr Lindsay Whittle, Leader of the Council said, "We must always remember we are here to serve the people we represent. It would be simple for us to avoid this major reduction in spending until the next council elections and leave the very difficult decisions to those who are elected in 2012. This seminar will provide the context for how we plan to spend our budget in the next five years it will also ensure councillors have the right information to make a decision on council tax and the annual budget at the end of the month."
Cllr Colin Mann Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Resources said, "In order to manage this, good planning needs to start now in 2010. During the autumn 2009 we met councillors, our citizens forum Viewpoint Panel, our youth forum and a range of employees from across the organisation. All of their views together with our budget advisory group have been added into an options paper, which sets out how we manage our finances in the coming years."
Cllr Mann continued, "The next step is to meet with all councillors who all have a duty to ensure the public receive the services they need at a cost they can afford. This will be the final consultation before a budget medium term plan report is formally put to the vote in Autumn 2010. This is not about party politics nor is it about scoring political points, like every other local authority it is about financially managing jobs and services for the area and having the foresight to make the best use of our resources."
The consultation report has some radical suggestions on how, in the long term, reduction of spending can take place and the projections mentioned over a year ago about reducing the work force by 300 jobs still stands."
Following the early February meeting, council will make its final decision on council tax at the end of the month. A report on the annual budget is due to be circulated to councillors later this week after the seminar.
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