Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Ashfield Council making cuts.... and the local branch ask some searching questions

On 19 November Ashfield District Council Cabinet will be considering a report (and appendix) that proposes budget cuts of over £1m in 2010/11 and nearly another £1m in 2011/12.

The local UNISON branch have been scrutinising the report and will be raising the following questions:

1. We note that "Contributions to Specific Reserves" are £0.548 million each year from 2010/11 (except for 2011/12) to 2014/15. We would ask request members ask what these amounts are earmarked for and whether there is scope to reduce these contributions to make available further sums to retain existing services.

2. Similarly the "General Reserve" from 2012/13 is set at staying at £3.207 million from then & for future years. We believe it is right that the authority should have such a reserve set at a minimum level of about 10% of expenditure. We believe therefore that there is scope to reduce the reserve to £2 million which would allow another £1.2 million to be used to maintain existing services. Indeed the report at section 9 reports the decision of Cabinet in August to set a minimum level for the General Reserve at £2.5 million, so even on this basis another £0.7 million could be used to maintain existing services.

3. Much is rightly made of the impact of the current recession, but we believe account should be taken in the MTFS of the recession ending and an economic improvement showing at least for the last two years 2013/14 and 2014/15 in the MTFS. We believe factoring in of increased income (e.g. from planning applications) & revenue contributions from capital sales that are likely to have developed by then could also give the council more scope to have further funds available for maintaining services by these years.

Excellent work from the branch demonstrating that the situation is not as dire as the report suggests.

No comments:

Post a Comment