Have your say on authority’s budget cuts

ANGUS Council will have to trim departmental budgets to the bone next year to find around £6 million of savings.

Speaking on the day a public consultation on the council’s 2012/13 budget proposals was launched, council leader Bob Myles said: “As we revealed last year Angus Council needs to deliver around £23 million of savings by 2014.

“We agreed £8.4 million of savings in this year’s budget and we’re on target to achieve that. However next year’s £6 million savings target is going to be an even bigger challenge because we are starting with less.”

Councillor Myles said the council was sticking to the four pronged savings approach it agreed last year. “We remain focused on improving efficiency, reducing staff costs, delivering more focused services and increasing income,” he revealed.

“We’ll still have around £259 million to spend on services next year, and we aim to get the most out of that by continuing to drive down running costs and by concentrating on agreed priorities.”

To have your say on the proposals for the 2012/13 budget you can complete the survey online at www.angus.gov.uk/budgetsurvey or copies are available at local ACCESS offices and libraries. Anyone who would like help completing the survey can call the ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778 where one of the council’s customer service team will take you through it.

As well as setting out what could be done to achieve the necessary savings in 2012/13 the survey also highlights what the council is doing to drive down costs and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services.

In addition to the public consultation, a more focused consultation is also under way with the members of Angus Citizens’ Panel and local community councils, who are taking part in group discussions about the savings proposals.

The closing date for submissions is November 18. Feedback from the consultation will be made available in early December and will inform the discussions taking place before the budget is set in February of next year.

Councillor Helen Oswald, Carnoustie and district, who is leader of the opposition SNP Group, commented: “With the savage cutting of budgets from Westminster, councils across the country will be making difficult choices on spending over the next two to three years. I believe it is important to take the council taxpayers’ opinions into account when deciding how to allocate funding.

“With this in mind, I hope Angus residents grab this opportunity to take part in the budget consultation. This is, after all, their council, their money and their services.”

She continued: “Staff across the council have worked very hard to continue to deliver services on reduced budgets and it’s important that they also feel part of the consultation process.

“The SNP Group on Angus Council will be looking very carefully at the results of the consultation when formulating their budget for 2012/13.”