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Tough decisions ahead for Flintshire councillors

Published: 12/12/2014

A package of cost saving proposals across a wide range of council services will be considered by Flintshire County Councils Cabinet on Tuesday 16 December as they battle to find an unprecedented level of £16.4million annual efficiencies due to a 3.4 per cent reduction in Welsh Government funding. The proposed 2015/16 budget builds on the ongoing strategy to reduce management and internal costs whilst protecting the prioritised and most critical local services. Because of the scale of the financial challenge, the Council is proposing more ambitious plans to make internal efficiencies, redesign management structures and phased reductions in the number of people it employs. Many of the budget proposals have no direct public impact but a number of specific public consultations will follow on some proposals where service users will be affected. The overall budgets package of measures and proposals combines: corporate financing options e.g. how to manage inflation portfolio level business plan proposals review of pressures on portfolio budgets maximising income generation reviews of workforce numbers and costs a review of council tax levels a full review of reserves and balances Earlier this year the Council launched its ‘Big Budget Conversation’ to raise awareness of the budget situation and the significant financial challenges it faced and to gauge the level of public acceptance of some of the difficult decisions ahead. People will be able to give their feedback on the budget proposals on the Councils web site. Subscribers to the Council’s emagazine Your Council will also receive the budget information in the latest edition. The feedback will be considered by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees during January. These meetings, which are open to the public ,will be held on: Corporate Resources Thursday 22 January Environment Friday 23 January Housing Friday 23 January Lifelong Learning Monday 26 January Social Care & Health Monday 26 January Start times and agendas will be published on the Councils website seven days before the date of the meeting. A final decision on the budget proposals will be made by the full County Council in February. Council Leader Aaron Shotton said: Over the past two years we will already have achieved £22m worth of savings by reducing management and operating costs and we will continue to look for further efficiencies in these areas. Local government has proved to be one of the most innovative and efficient forms of public service in Wales but there comes a tipping point whereby the sustainability of our services comes into question. We are now having to prioritise some services over others, reduce or even stop services. We have put all our services under scrutiny including education, social services, leisure services, libraries and waste collections. We will strive to minimise the effect on the front line services but inevitably there will be an impact in some areas.