A further £6million worth of savings will have to be made by East Lindsey District Council over the next four years.
Despite the uncertainty around the changes to Local Government finance, East Lindsey District Council will budget with the expectation of no longer receiving a Government Grant to support local services after the next four year period, the Leader of the Council has stated in his report to Council.
The District Council has seen the funding it receives from Government Grants reduced from £17,377,906 in 2010 to £11,157,447 in 2015. The Council expects Government funding to reduce by a further £6,000,000 over the next four years.
In order to bridge the gap and balance its books the Council will need to reduce its running costs or increase the income it receives from other sources.
In his report to Council, Councillor Craig Leyland, said: “One of the major challenges facing us when we took office was Central Government’s pledge to cut £12billions from its budget.
“Given that many Government departments such as health will continue to have their budgets ring fenced, it is sensible to assume that funding for Local Government will continue to decline at least at rates not dissimilar to the reductions we have experienced over the last five years. All the indications point in this direction.
“We await the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement with some trepidation but expect that District Councils like East Lindsey will continue to be presented with very significant financial challenges moving forward. Irrespective of this, the landscape of funding for Local Authorities is changing and we need to plan ahead accordingly.
“This Council has had a good track record of being “ahead of the curve” in preparing for such challenges and we need to remain well placed to respond to this next period.
“Accordingly, I have concluded with Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Guyatt and Executive Board colleagues that it is best for the long-term sound management of this Council to budget for the ending of direct Government Grant by the end of four years.
“This will require savings and increased income totalling £6,000,0000 and will likely require some fundamental changes in the way we do business.
“With this in mind Councillor Guyatt is working with the Council’s Management Team on the establishment of a Transformation Programme as well as financial changes and he intends working with Executive Board colleagues and all members on producing a robust five year plan, including an Asset Management Plan, by June next year. We hope that through the Overview and Scrutiny Panel processes as many Councillors as possible will engage in the process.
“It is my intention to establish a Leaders’ Transformation Forum so that all political groups can input directly into the process.”
Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Nick Guyatt, said: “There is no getting away from the fact this Council faces massive challenges in terms of its finances, as do Councils across the country.
“The Leader and I have discussed in detail the best way forward and that is to be in a position to no longer rely on Government Grant after the next four year period.
“Despite the need to make savings or increase income to the tune of £6,000,000 in this time the Council will continue to have a very clear focus on doing all it can to ensure the people of East Lindsey receive the services they need from their District Council.
“There should be no doubt, however, there will have to be significant changes to the way the Council operates and provides its services.”