CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Counciloor Peter Coupland
Councils across the country are facing cuts in Government funding and South Holland District Council is no different.
Our funds from Whitehall are going to be slashed by 24 per cent over the next four years.
Next month, South Holland councillors will be making decisions on the council’s budget for 2016/17 and onwards to 2020.
There are financial shortfalls to be filled to ensure that frontline services such as weekly refuse collections, elderly sheltered care, environmental services, drainage boards etc. are maintained at a level no lower than at present.
Many other authorities have and will in the future cut services to balance their budgets.
Several councils will struggle to balance their budgets over the coming years.
Over the last few years SHDC have prudently managed their finances and structures to ensure that frontline services were kept at a good level.
Sharing senior executives, management and some services with other authorities have enabled SHDC to save substantial amounts of money.
Our aim is to ensure that frontline services are not cut in the future.
SHDC is in a better position than most authorities to be able to cover government cuts in funding while maintaining good levels of service.
However, more cash will be required to balance budgets in the run up to 2020.
Efficiencies in council staff and ways of shared working has its limits, to a point where a council could become inefficient in its functioning through lack of personnel on the ground.
Here at SHDC we have been looking at ways of ‘creating an income’ to help cover government cuts in funding in the future.
One way will be by building homes across the district for social and market rent and for market sale.
The plan is to build around 150 homes over the next four years creating not only an income, but providing much-needed homes for rental and first, second and third time buyers.
The new homes will be built in numbers not seen since the post war years.