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Council must save £500,000 this year

Finances: From left, chief executive of South Ribble Council, Mike Nuttall; leader of South Ribble Council, Margaret Smith; and cabinet member for finance and resources, Stephen Robinson

Finances: From left, chief executive of South Ribble Council, Mike Nuttall; leader of South Ribble Council, Margaret Smith; and cabinet member for finance and resources, Stephen Robinson

South Ribble Council chiefs will have to make more than half a million pounds in savings over the next year, following an 11% cut to its government grant.

Bosses revealed today the budget for 2013-14 was facing a £1.1m deficit, which they plan to address by making £515,000 in savings and using £635,000 from reserves.

However, council leaders said there were no plans for redundancies among its 300-strong workforce this year and that its part of the council tax will be frozen for 2013-14.

Coun Stephen Robinson, cabinet member for finance, said the savings would be made through efficiencies, including more service sharing with other councils and a review of neighbourhood services.

He said: “We have a track record of good financial management and we are cautiously optimistic going forward.

“We have been looking ahead for some years and we knew there was going to be a reduction in the (government) grant.

“We have all been hit hard but we have just got to get on with it.

“We’ve been sharing some services with Chorley (Council) which has proved to be very successful and saved more than £500,000. We are looking at sharing other services, for example, property services.

“These are back office functions where authorities can produce efficiencies.”

The council has pledged to invest £100,000 a year for the next four years in improving the borough’s parks and green spaces.

There are also plans being developed for further regeneration in Leyland town centre, Penwortham and Longton and New Longton.

And money will be spent preserving PCSO (police community support officer) numbers and updating CCTV cameras, while parking charges will be frozen.

The council revealed it had received an extra £175,000 from planning fees last year, following the submission of major schemes including pizza firm Dr Oetker’s expansion in Leyland and the new Waitrose distribution centre in Buckshaw Village.

Council leader Margaret Smith said: “Things are a bit doom and gloom in some places but we feel quite optimistic in South Ribble.”

 

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