Detailed analysis of both the Government’s grant allocation for Durham County Council and the impact of the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) will be considered by the authority’s Cabinet next week (January 13).
A report will ask members to note that, based on the provisional financial settlement from Government received by the council December 17, the savings target looking ahead as far as 2019/20 can be revised to £123.7m. This includes £40m of savings required next year in 2016/17.
Early indications were that the impact of the CSR would result in savings of £135m, an additional £11m. However, Cabinet will hear that extremely difficult decisions will still need to be made and that there will be a definite impact on frontline services.
We are still awaiting more information from Government on our final grant settlement however our current financial analysis reveals the total council savings 2011 – 2020 are now forecast to be £276.7m, £153m of which will have been made by the end of this financial year (2015/16).
The report also recommends, for a decision by Full Council in February, that the Government’s proposed 2 per cent council tax increase, ring-fenced for spending on adult social care, be accepted.
Council Leader, Cllr Simon Henig, said: “We now have better clarity on the impact of both the Government’s CSR and provisional financial allocation and whilst it is pleasing to note that we can revise our target down by £11m, tremendously hard decisions remain inevitable.
“The saving requirement for 2016/17 remains a very significant challenge at £40m, furthermore, large saving are expected in each of the three following years.
“We will continue to listen to the public via consultation, to use reserves whenever it is appropriate and to work with communities and the voluntary sector under the Durham Ask programme to try and lessen the impact of cuts of this scale.”
The full Cabinet report can be viewed here http://democracy.durham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=7927&Ver=4
Cabinet will note the report’s recommendations when members meet at County Hall on January 13.