The chancellor in his Autumn statement has cut local government funding over the next 5 years by 24%, As Councillors we have been preparing for bad news and we estimate that Arun will have a deficit of £5m by 2020 unless we make savings.
We are looking to either outsource or share many of our in-house corporate services to save money,
On the Leisure contract which is my responsibility as Cabinet Portfolio holder, instead of spending £560k a year we are to receive a payment from the new contractor (Freedom Leisure) of £500k+ so we will be over £1m better off,
On the Cleansing contract, also my responsibility,We opted of not to cut the weekly refuse service, but instead we are looking to go out on a short term contract from 2017 (up to 4 years) which we expect will give us savings on the current contract.
But despite all these savings we don't think it will cover all the £5M deficit, so we are looking to increase parking charges, many of the charges haven't gone up since 2010 and some since 2005, the increase we are proposing averages out at 10.4% which makes up almost exactly for the inflation since 2010. In Arundel the increase will be less than that and only for the Crown Yard car park, The Lido Car Park is different as all the profits for the Lido car park go to the Arundel Lido Trust and they decide the increases.
Council tax will have to rise for the first time since 2010, the exact figure hasn't yet been decided, but I expect it to be less than 2%.
Arun will also try and boost earnings by starting it's own company to purchase and develop assets, this should bring in a profit on some activities to offset spending,
Overall we think Arun will be a leaner more customer fronted organisation doing more for less, a difficult message to convey,
Until next Month
Paul Dendle. Is Arundel and Walberton Councillor and Cabinet Member for Leisure and Amenities, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and web address is www.pauldendle.org