This just in from the council. Ed
Papers have been published outlining proposals for the future shape and direction of the Isle of Wight Council in light of substantial savings of £25 million which the council will have to make over the next two years.
The proposals will be considered by the council’s cabinet on 8 February, who will then put forward their recommendations to a meeting of the full council which takes place on 23 February. The full council will then agree the council’s budget strategy for the next three years and the council tax level for 2011/12.
Report follows budget consultation workshops
The report outlines the council’s revenue and capital budget position and medium term financial plan in light of the reduced, provisional local government financial settlement that was announced in December. Feedback gathered through budget consultation workshops and an online budget survey was used to formulate the report which also outlines proposals for savings, the council’s capital programme and council tax strategy.
The council is proposing to continue to invest in core council services including over £41m on adult social care, £20m on children’s services and a further £20m for roads, transport and public realm. Other significant sums are proposed, including £1.5m for libraries, arts and culture, £6.7m in fire services, £1.9m in leisure services, £1.5m in economic development and strategic tourism and £5m in planning, enforcement and regulatory services.
Key priority areas see investment
The council is also proposing to invest additional amounts in key priorities including school reorganisation, highways PFI and the improvement of some leisure facilities.
Key policy decisions will also be made by the cabinet including changes to the provision of adult social care and charges for community based adult social care services.
Following the two key budget meetings, further consideration will be given to the implications of the budget strategy for some of the individual services that have been the subject of wider, continuing consultation, such as toilets and library provision. This will be considered by the cabinet, alongside residents’ feedback, when it meets in March.
Cllr David Pugh, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council said, “The paper sets out a series of proposals to cabinet which will, if fully implemented, would ensure we meet the unprecedented level of savings required over the next few years.
“However, it must be stressed that there are still a number of factors to contribute to this process, including the outcomes of the remaining consultations and the final grant settlement from central government.
“The cabinet’s role is to make recommendations to full council, therefore allowing all elected members the opportunity to contribute to the final decisions. As in previous years, I anticipate that there will be a range of alternative suggestions for budget savings put forward in the coming weeks, all of which will be fully considered as part of the democratic process.
“Clearly we have some huge financial challenges to address in this year’s budget setting process and we cannot escape the fact that savings on this scale will impact on future service provision. We do feel that these proposals offer a sensible spread of budget investment based on the priority areas of the council and those expressed by residents through consultation.
“These papers also set out some clear recommendations for policy decisions to be made by cabinet about future adult social care provision. We have taken into account the results of the recent consultation exercise and intend to implement these changes as sensitively as possible to ensure we continue to assist those residents in greatest need.”