Northampton

Wellingborough Council to use £2m from reserves

Wellingborough Council has proposed to use £2m from its reserves to help freeze its part of the council tax.

The council said government grants and council tax are expected to raise £8.5m, but services are expected to cost about £10.5m in 2013-14.

The authority's resource committee has backed a draft budget which uses £2m of its savings.

Wellingborough Council leader Paul Bell said: "The financial challenge we are facing is huge."

'Stop-gap'

He said: "We have a shortfall of more than £2m next year and will have to make even more savings over the next few years.

"It has become clear that we can't rely on funding from the government and instead we have to come up with ways to sort this out locally.

"We are reasonably fortunate in the borough because we do have a bit of money in the bank to prop up the immediate shortfall, but this is obviously only a stop-gap measure.

"This is money that's kept in reserve for a rainy day and we don't have enough savings to support the budget year after year.

"From next year onwards we have to be able to deliver our budget without a reliance on these reserves, and that means difficult decisions will have to be made."

Councillors agreed a number of areas should be looked at to raise income and reduce costs in future.

These include further restructuring of the council's senior management team, reviewing contracts, making more effective use of council assets and investigating ways to share more services with other organisations.

These will be consulted on in the new year and throughout the next financial year.

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