Council set to slash £32m from budget

County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

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Budget cuts of £32.5m needed to balance the books are expected to be approved by Northumberland County Council on Tuesday.

Savings of over £14m are earmarked from adult and housing services, along with £7.5m from local services and nearly £5m from children’s services.

A further £3.1m saving is identified in the transformation budget which includes the possible integration of the council’s customer service point within Berwick library.

The authority admits that more jobs are at risk but hopes to restrict these to natural wastage and voluntary redundancies.

Councillor Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council said: “Setting a budget in the current financial climate poses a real challenge for councils up and down the country and we know that in the next financial year alone we will need to save £32.5m.

“Some of the measures we’ve taken will not only ensure that savings are fair to residents across the county - but also deliver key improvements on things like affordable housing, economic growth, schools support, local services and free parking where local communities think it will boost the economy.

“However, in Northumberland we are under no illusion that we are going to face more significant efficiency savings in the coming years.”

The cuts are the first step in a four-year plan in which the council is being tasked with making a mammoth £130m worth of savings.

Councillors are also expected to turn down the Government’s offer of funding being made available to any council which freezes council tax, which equates to £1.6m.

Instead, they are being asked to agree an 1.98% increase in council tax which provides additional funding of £2.6m.

If agreed, the council tax increase would mean that Band D equates to £1,399.61.

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