middlesbrough-moving-forwardMIDDLESBROUGH Council has outlined its budget plans for the next three years, with a focus on maintaining frontline services.

The Council’s Strategic Plan – including budget proposals for the 2016-17 financial year – was considered at a meeting of full Council on Wednesday (November 25).

The plan includes an update on the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and an overview of the financial challenges that the Council is facing.

Proposals for 2016-17 – based on projected funding reductions of 12% for each of the next three years – include detail on major savings that will be achieved with no public impacts through internal restructures, improved efficiencies and a reduction in back office functions.

Also included are a range of proposals which will be subject to consultation before the budget is finalised.

A further appendix to the report outlines a number of initiatives and proposals that may require separate consultations in future years.

Further detail on the Government’s local government financial settlement will be provided to the authority in December following Chancellor George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review announced this week.

Briefings will be given to the Council’s various political groups during December and January, with a final report on the 2016-17 budget due to be presented a meeting of full Council in March.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “The savage cuts imposed by Government on this and other local authorities have seen our budget cut by more than £80 million over the last five years, with the loss of more than 700 jobs.

“That has necessitated a completely new approach to the way we operate to enable us to deliver the frontline services people want within the resources available to us.

“I have worked closely with officers to develop a three-year medium-term strategy which will allow us to introduce a great degree of transformational change across the authority.

“This approach has enabled us to produce a balanced budget for the next three financial years, while significantly reducing the level of service cuts compared with previous years.

“A great deal of hard work has gone into ensuring we remain on a stable financial footing, and this budget makes that possible for the coming years.

“The Government’s cuts continue at an unnecessary and damaging level, but we remain determined to protect and transform vital serves in the face of such unreasonable challenges.”

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