Warwickshire County Council has today (Thursday) announced that it needs to cut its spending by £92 milliion - marking its biggest savings challenege to date.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, leader of the council, has made a public statement at this morning’s council meeting at Shire Hall in which she outlined the scale of the financial situation faced by the local authority, and revealed the organisation’s priorities as it faces a £92 million reduction in its budget over the next four years.
The savings target estimated for Warwickshire arises from reductions in Government grant, inflation and additional demographic pressures. Modelling by the Local Government Association has confirmed the accuracy of this estimate and it is also consistent with the planning assumptions of other county councils.
Through the council statement, Cllr Seccombe put forward the council’s core ambitions to protect vulnerable members of the community and promote economic growth.
She outlined how these priorities will drive a number of tough decisions which have to be taken in the months leading up to February’s budget setting and beyond.
Setting the scene for her statement, Cllr Seccombe said: “We know that there are going to be some difficult years and tough choices ahead, and we have a lot of work to do to shape a future county council that cares for our citizens, keeps people safe, offers value for money, and supports innovation and economic growth.
“We have been in the position of making unprecedented savings before but the scale this time round is far greater. There are no easy options left and reductions in resource will have consequences which will need to be carefully managed. Council officers have been asked to scrutinise every area of spend, and we have been clear that in these initial stages nothing is exempt from review.”
It is still early days in terms of the development of savings proposals and details have not yet been defined.
However future plans will involve improving service efficiency and frontline delivery and transforming some areas of business.
Despite the financial challenges, opportunities to build the local economy will be explored and the council hopes to attract more investment, maximising business and enterprise opportunities and encouraging job creation.
Cllr Seccombe concluded: “We don’t have a choice about the £92 million savings we have to make but we can choose how to spend the remaining £250 million and we are determined to make every penny of taxpayers’ money count.
“To do this we will look for new, more cost-efficient ways to deliver quality services and explore more opportunities for working with partners and the community now and in years to come.
“We will work with our communities and want to open up a conversation with residents to talk about the scale of the issue we face, and our responsibility as a council to deliver services within allocated budgets. What we do now charts the course for the next generation of Warwickshire citizens.”