September 23rd, 2016

Council reveals £100m needed over four years

Council reveals £100m needed over four years Council reveals £100m needed over four years
Updated: 9:59 am, Nov 20, 2015

COUNTY chiefs have revealed a further £100 million needs to be saved over the next four years but insist Worcestershire County Council remains a viable authority.

Council leader Councillor Adrian Hardman said the authority needed to address an expected funding gap of around £3.4 million in the next financial year.

A reduction in Government grants has led to the increase in the level of cuts needed and in addition to the £25 million in savings, the authority has earmarked a further £12.6 million of cuts over the next four years.

Council chiefs expect to make further savings as part of the FutureFit 2020 corporate plan which covers a variety of areas designed to contribute to a prosperous future for the county.

Among the areas covered include a greater focus on contracting out services to the private sector and voluntary and community groups.

An increased focus on social care will be among the package of measures as well as the possible sale of council-owned assets.

Both Coun Hardman and Chief Executive Clare Marchant insisted there was a future for local Government and called for further devolution from Whitehall.

Currently, 74 per cent of the council’s income is derived from business rates and council tax and county council chiefs hope to push that figure up to 90 per cent should Chancellor George Osborne push ahead with plans to hand business rates back to local authorities.

“If they are going to repatriate business rates to local councils that should give local authorities the resources to cope without Government grants,” said Coun Hardman who expects Government grant funding to go completely by 2020.

“I think the next four years will be the heaviest lift we have ever done,” he said.