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Worcestershire County Council could need £22m extra cuts
AN EXTRA £22 million of cuts are likely to be needed at Worcestershire County Council, it is forecast.
The council’s medium-term financial plan, discussed during an overview and scrutiny performance board meeting at County Hall on Wednesday last week suggested the authority’s BOLD (Better Outcomes Lean Delivery) programme could also be extended by a year.
BOLD was launched in October, 2009 to save £45 million from the county council’s budget over three years. The figure rose to £60 million to £70 million over four years and now stands at £90 million over five years.
Even that, however, is unlikely to be enough, with the medium-term plan predicting a budget gap of £900,000 in 2013/14, followed by a £3.7 million hole in 2015/16 and a predicted £17.7 million gap in the balance sheet in 2016/17.
It means an extra £22.3 million in total will have to be found by the end of that financial year to fill the gap.
The council, halfway through the second year of BOLD, has already slashed £43.5 million from its budget and is aiming to reach £50 million by April, 2013.
The scrutiny board heard 12 programmes would help the council claw money back, including shared services with neighbouring counties, developing a commissioning organisation and spending less on council buildings.
Council Leader, Conservative Adrian Hardman, said: “We have made significant progress in terms of saving money and while we have to be clear more is needed, we believe now is the time to be talking to residents about how the council will change.
“Although change can be unsettling sometimes, we have a real opportunity to transform what we do and how we do it and deliver high-quality and cost-effective services for taxpayers, despite our obvious budget pressures.”
The report predicts the base budget will shrink from £338 million in 2012/13 to £325.7 million in 2016/17 and financial settlements for 2013/14 and 2014/15 from central Government are not yet known.