Date Published: 18 May 2021
Rutland County Council’s Full Council is to consider a range of in-year budget savings aimed at reducing council spending, after proposals were approved by Cabinet on Tuesday 18 May.
When Rutland County Council set its latest annual budget in February, it voted to use £2.4 million of council reserves to lessen the impact of further cuts in Government funding for local councils. Reserves were used so that a rise in Council Tax could be capped at 2.99%, rather than applying the maximum 5% increase allowed by government.
As part of this decision, it was agreed that Rutland County Council would need to improve its financial position by finding further in-year savings through a review of all spending, as well as freezing vacant staff posts, where possible.
Proposals for a range of in-year savings were discussed by the Council’s Scrutiny Committees in April, before being reviewed by Cabinet on Tuesday 18 May. Having been approved by Cabinet, a final decision on whether to go ahead with the savings will be made by Full Council in July.
“We do not want to have to make these savings. Unfortunately, central government continues to cut the amount of funding it gives to local councils, while also dragging its feet on key decisions about how health and social care services will be funded in the future. All of this puts local councils in an impossible position where we must choose between increasing Council Tax or making the kind of savings that we’re now having to consider. Government will tell you that local authorities have never had more spending power. This simply means that Councils have been given permission to raise Council Tax even higher than in previous years, effectively passing the rising cost of services on to local residents. We have been calling and calling for councils to receive fairer funding from the Government. I’m sorry to say we have not had the response we need, so far. While these initial savings will help and have been recommended because they won’t have an adverse impact on core services for residents, there is much more we need to do. If the Government doesn’t provide Rutland with the additional funding we’re fighting for, we will still need to find further savings of at least £2 million.” Councillor Oliver Hemsley, Leader of Rutland County Council
Possible savings, reviewed by Scrutiny Committees and to be recommended to Full Council following Cabinet approval, cover three main areas:
- Administrative savings: Reducing overheads by changing working practises to create a saving of £185,000.
- Revised Council offer: A revision to the Council’s offer to the public or staff, creating a saving of £422,000.
Change in Funding Assumptions: No change to the Council’s offer but proposed changes to how the offer is funded to create a saving of £604,000.
The full agenda and reports for Cabinet on Tuesday 18 May can be read online at: www.rutland.gov.uk/meetings.