£12.8 million of savings achieved in council efficiency drive

A new report published this week shows that efficiency savings worth almost 7% on Council Tax have been achieved by Bath and North East Somerset Council in the past year. The £5.4 million saved this year means that in total over £12.8 million of annual efficiencies have been achieved since the Conservatives formed the council’s administration in 2007. The savings achieved are also above Government efficiency targets.

The report, to be presented to the council’s Conservative Cabinet on the 21st July, comes as councils across England prepare for significant budget cuts over the coming years as the country works to reduce the national budget deficit.

Grants to the local authority from central Government, which account for a large part of the council’s income, are expected to be cut by at least 25% in the coming years. The Conservative administration in Bath and North East Somerset has said that the authority is in better shape than most councils to deal with the anticipated funding squeeze, having maintained balanced budgets with no deficit every year since controlling the council’s finances. However, the Cabinet has warned that tough choices on spending priorities will still be necessary and further efficiencies required.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Malcolm Hanney (Cons, Chew Valley North), said:

“By maintaining a clear focus on increasing efficiency within the council, we are facing the tough times ahead from a sound financial position. The £12.8 million of savings achieved over the past few years shows that with a clear purpose and careful prioritisation, real efficiencies can be achieved which save tax-payer money.

“However, over the coming years further efficiencies will need to be found and difficult choices on spending priorities will have to be made. The council will need to find ways to deliver the best possible services for less money, but this report detailing our record of delivering efficiencies shows that we are well placed to do this.”