Further budget cuts at Exeter City Council will be an inevitable result of the wider squeeze on public sector spending, it was announced.
The council believes that it will see a fall of at least 25 per cent in its funding from central government over the next three years. This coupled with a freeze on council tax announced for next year means there is little alternative other than to cut the council’s spending.
At the same time the council already faces lower income from activities affected by the recession such as car parks and rents and higher demand for services such as housing and benefits.
Council Leader, Adrian Fullam described the situation as ‘challenging’ saying: “We have an incredibly tough budget coming up. We have already made large savings by streamlining back office functions, a recruitment freeze on all but essential posts and reducing staff costs through voluntary redundancy and flexible working.
“Even so we will need to take another 10 per cent off our staff costs in the period 2011-2014. Costs can be reduced in many ways through flexible working arrangements rather than job losses. Wherever possible we will seek to avoid compulsory redundancies, although given the extent of the cuts needed that may not always be achievable.”
Chief executive, Philip Bostock added: “To make these greater savings we will conduct a root and branch review of all our services and ensure they are being delivered in the most cost effective way. That, in some circumstances, might mean sharing with other councils, working with the voluntary sector or the private sector. We will also be consulting with the public about their priorities.
“In this climate the city council’s elected members will have some difficult decisions to make in balancing next year’s budget and agreeing a sustainable financial plan for the next few years. ”
(from a press release)