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Council Announces Proposals for More Than 10M Savings

Bedford Borough Council has announced proposals to help save the authority over £10 million and enable work towards a zero increase in council tax to continue.


The national and global economic situation has meant tough decisions have had to be made given cuts in the funding that the council receives. Already this year nearly £4million has been saved through changes to the way services are provided. Since the increased pressures on council funding the council has been challenging the way it provides services.


The proposals put forward set out to identify savings while protecting frontline services by doing things more efficiently. As part of this process the council is set to lose almost 200 posts across the organisation, rationalise services, closing some leisure facilities earlier during quiet times and reducing benefits for staff.


In order to achieve a balanced budget and involve local people in shaping its services the council is setting out its plans even earlier than normal. Once these proposals have been considered there will be a borough wide consultation to gather the views of local residents.


Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson said:


“These are tough financial times for the country and we have tough decisions to make to provide a balanced budget. We are working towards a freeze in council tax while at the same time continuing to invest in services that are the priorities of our residents.”


Cllr Michael Headley Portfolio Holder Finance and Asset Management said:


“The majority of these savings have been found by creating new ways of working that don’t affect frontline services, like merging systems in our HR and Payroll sections and saving £260,000 from updating and improving our waste and recycling collection routes.


We are committed to providing good financial management and working for our residents in an open and transparent way. That is why we are amongst the first councils in the country to announce their proposals so that there can be a full and open consultation with local residents.”


Departments across the council have been involved in the efficiency drives which include saving £400,000 by managing our debts differently and savings increasing to £32,000 due to the energy generated from the council’s pioneering hydro power scheme. Major savings have been found from area such as:


  • Integrating CSD saving £1,350,000 – bringing the trading division fully within the council
  • Review of Integrated Youth Support Services including Connexions saving £500,000 – This review will concentrate the service towards those most in need.
  • Closure of Foxgloves Respite Home saving £500,000 – Currently Foxgloves is unsustainable. These proposals seek to provide respite services in a different way.
  • Long Term Care Contracts saving £1,000,000 – renegotiating care contracts to reduce costs without impacting on the service delivered.



The proposals in the council’s Service Transformation/Policy Options will be considered by the council’s Executive on 15th September. Shortly after this it is planned that there will be a public consultation on the proposals with further information appearing on the web pages www.bedford.gov.uk/budget2011


The council will formally consider the budget for 2011/12 at its Full Council meeting in February.

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