Future council cutbacks 'inevitable', says leaderBy Becky Barnes
September 20, 2012
Another underspend could be possible next year despite "inevitable" cutbacks, says the leader of Bracknell Forest Council.
Councillor Paul Bettison was grilled by Ed Glasson of the Defend of the Defend Our Community Services (DOCS) group about the £1.886million 2011/12 budget underspend and asked if further cutbacks were anticipated next year at the full council meeting last night.
Cllr Bettison said: "It is inevitable that further cutbacks will, in some areas, affect services to residents and staff.
"We also know that because of the size of national deficit further cut backs in local government spending are inevitable for the foreseeable future."
Cllr Bettison said the council had achieved £50million of savings in the past with a focus on reducing back office costs and achieving greater efficiencies.
He added further savings would have to be made next year.
Cllr Bettison said: "As a council with a reputation for sound financial management we do not wait until the last minute to work out what savings are required to balance our budget – we plan ahead and put measures in place to deliver savings at the earliest opportunity, ensuring our residents get value for money as well as protecting those services they need and want.
"We are on a long and difficult journey and shrewd day to day management of our spending is simply sound preparation for the challenges ahead. Because we are on a journey, making savings whenever we can to reach the eventual end point with minimum impact on local residents underspending is becoming endemic and it would be no surprise to me if we underspend again this year. That would, after all, make it no less than 15 consecutive years of spending within budget."