We must find more ways to create income

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CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Councillor Peter Coupland

Here at South Holland District Council we balance our budgets more or less in the same way as homeowners do theirs.

We estimate our yearly costs and balance our income against the costs.Sometimes we need to cut costs to equal our income or vice versa.

With heavy Government cuts to council funding over the next four years, every authority across England will be feeling the pinch and will have to look at all their services for efficiencies, and/or look at ways of creating an income.

Over the next four years SHDC will receive cuts in Government grants of around £1.67 million – not a small amount of money.

To cover these cuts, council tax would have to rise substantially or we would have to severely cut funding to frontline services.

Here at South Holland District Council we propose to do neither.

Over the past few years we have prudently controlled our operating structures and finances and are better prepared than most local authorities to deal with funding cuts.

With careful management we will balance our budget for the year ahead, while maintaining frontline services such as weekly refuse collections, environmental services, drainage boards and planning services at a level no lower than present.

In fact we are one of only a handful of authorities who have not had to cut services to balance their books.

We have, however, increased our district council tax for 2016/17 to help maintain the weekly refuse collections – ranging from an extra 6p a week on Band A properties to 10p on Band D – our first increase in six years.

We are also looking at income streams in the future, including a garden waste collection service and a house building programme under the banner of Welland Homes.

These income streams will help to balance our books over the next few years so we can continue to maintain services and keep council tax increase to a minimum.

I’m sure residents will appreciate the efforts we are making and we always want to hear your feedback and ideas. If you have suggestions for how we should balance our budget, email pcoupland@sholland.gov.uk.