£5.5 million ‘savings’ need to be found next year say Isle of Wight council

The Isle of Wight council needs to fill a budget gap of £5.5m next year as the Government give them less money. Look out for more parking fines, less privilege seat on school buses, elderly being cared for in their homes and a rise in council tax.

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‘Tough choices will have to be made’ Isle of Wight council bosses have said, as the plans for next year’s budget are announced.

Council tax will rise by at least 2.99 per cent as the authority looks to save a further £5.5 million in the coming year.

95% of savings will have ‘little or no impact’
Preliminary savings have been identified from all council services, with 95 per cent coming through efficiencies within the services — which the council have said will have ‘little or no impact’ — and five per cent in cuts.

Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, said challenging financial decisions will have to be made, as the authority hopes to save £16.5 million in savings over the next three years.

Council reserves now stand at just over £11 million.

Stewart: “Inappropriate” to use reserves
Cllr Stewart said he had ruled out dipping into reserves as they could only be used once, and it would be ‘inappropriate’ for them to be used on services needed year after year.

Council tax will rise to match inflation, however, deputy council leader and cabinet member for finance, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, said he would not dismiss another rise if the government allowed it.

Rise for adult social care
Last year, an additional three per cent was allocated for adult social care.

Cllr Hutchinson said:

“If the government offered an additional rise, we would have to take it. Otherwise they could have said we don’t need any more money in the future.”

School transport
Privilege bus seats could be reduced as the authority reviews the service and looks to match demand with cost. The authority is only required to provide transport for students attending their nearest school.

The council will also be looking to make further savings by caring for the elderly in their own homes, rather than paying into care homes.

Cllr Stewart said:

“I don’t know of anyone who would not prefer to be in their own home. The idea is to provide more of a wrap around service than paying into these businesses.”

£1m less on Highway PFI
Additional savings will be made on the Highways PFI agreement, with changes to specification bringing in £1 million.

Investments in leisure centres has meant higher levels of demand and more income that anticipated, which will help alleviate some of the savings.

More parking fines
Residents could also face more parking fines, as a more consistent approach is taken to parking charges across the Island, especially in relation to on street parking and night time parking.

IWC investments
Investments made by the council now net them in the region of £1 million a year. A recent investment in Network Oxford is hoped to bring in an addition £150,000 in the 2019/20 budget.

By releasing plans for the budget four months ahead of schedule, Cllr Stewart said he would ask other political parties to come forward with ideas to help balance the books and protect and enhance council services.

The papers
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This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: jakerust under CC BY 2.0

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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8 Comments on "£5.5 million ‘savings’ need to be found next year say Isle of Wight council"

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This must be a mistake! Our Prime Minister *clearly* stated that austerity is over, so why on earth would they cut our funding yet again?

Steve Goodman
Clearly another mistake by Mrs May; as her money minister made clear again during the budget delivery for anyone still similarly mistaken – it clearly isn’t over. In addition to the current continuing cuts clear to most of us, £Billions worth of cuts are still to come. On the possible plus side, the budget announcements included a belated recognition of the folly of fondness for pricey PFI… Read more »
Steve Goodman

And now we clearly know that we need to be looking at our collective costs and savings, a couple of links to follow on the much more important and urgent if not already too late costing the earth stuff…

Steve Goodman
More on what most needs to be saved and probably will not be because our local, national, and international political servants are generally failing to get on with it: ‘Tomorrow, the Isle of Wight Climate Coalition are assembling in Newport’s St James Square (outside Costa) and it would be fantastic if you could pop by too and spare a few minutes to help our campaign.. We are… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Surprisingly, I have some sympathy for the local politicians given that the tories nationally are led by a liar. “Austerity is over” I saw her at the conference on the televisual device saying those words. But it clearly is not and any benefit of the rise in the personal tax allowance is going straight to the IWC as an increase in council tax. And with cuts still… Read more »
Having had a brief look at Appendix 1, the councils claims of “95 per cent coming through efficiencies within the services — which the council have said will have ‘little or no impact’ ” look like an attempt to gloss over the details. Looks more like cuts all the way to me. Perhaps the IWC might like to let us all in on the Highways “savings”. Given… Read more »