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We are making changes to the way we manage planning applications that will come into effect on Thursday 1 November, 2018. Most users will not notice any big changes, but we hope there will be noticeable improvements in the speediness and consistency of the decisions made which will improve the service we provide. Find out more…

Background to the savings programme

Our funding comes from a variety of sources, including the council tax, business rates and general government grants. In 2014/15 our net budget was £191m, of which about a quarter was financed from general government grants.

Since 2010 the value of these grants has fallen sharply, in line with government austerity measures. In the four years to 2014 our funding from central government fell by about 40 per cent, to £43.2m.

This is a significant reduction, and we responded with a major efficiency programme focused on reducing our ‘back office’ costs in order to protect our frontline services. As part of the programme we reduced our management head count, introduced new purchasing arrangements and streamlined our business processes. By March 2015 we will have saved nearly £43m through a range of efficiency measures. This has helped us to protect our frontline services and deliver better value for money for local people.

The challenge we now face is that national austerity measures are expected to continue until the end of the decade. By 2020 we expect our general government grants to have fallen by a further £27m, to £16.2m.

At the same time, we anticipate rising pressure on our budgets. We have an ageing population, for example, and will need to spend more on services for the elderly in the coming years. Our costs will also rise with inflation. When all factors are taken into account, we anticipate that we will need to make further savings of £40m by 2020 if we are to balance our budget.

These savings will be delivered through the new six-year council savings programme. The programme was agreed by full Council in February 2014, and sets out detailed savings targets for almost all council teams and services, amounting to £36m. In the coming months and years we will work with local people and communities to identify how best to meet these savings targets, via a range of projects of different size and scope.

The council savings programme

Delivering the savings programme

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