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Council agrees savings are necessary for a balanced budget

Herefordshire Council will take the necessary steps to ensure that vital services across Herefordshire are protected for vulnerable residents and local communities. 

The council has made budget reductions of £21.1 million over the last two years and needs to plan further reductions of £32.2 million over the next three years, starting with 2013/14, following severe reductions in central government funding. 

A meeting of full council on Friday 24 May resolved to take the necessary steps to deliver a balanced budget in 2013/14 and also agreed that where appropriate, equality impact assessments would be fully undertaken if alternative models of service delivery were being considered.

The council’s savings plan for the current financial year has already factored in some of the changes proposed for the next three years, which will have the effect of putting the county in a much stronger position for what will be difficult times.

Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “We are facing a very challenging time over the next few years and as such we need to consider alternative approaches to delivering some of our services.  In some areas, it may be necessary to reduce the service levels to which we are accustomed. 

“Our priorities will be the protection of vulnerable residents and supporting those core statutory services that ensure this.  Inevitably, non-mandatory services must bear the brunt of the cuts and although this will unfortunately involve job losses, it does not automatically mean the loss of services.

“The cabinet is pleased to have the support of full council and we will continue working towards achieving a balanced budget and delivering services to our residents.”

Council also agreed to an additional recommendation that cabinet would consider the possibility of a referendum, which would be necessary for any council tax increase for 2014/15, above the level set by central government, which is currently 2%. 

During an earlier council meeting on Friday morning, Councillor Tony Johnson was formally elected as the new leader of the council.  Changes to the cabinet were also announced:

 

Councillor Tony Johnson Leader of Herefordshire Council / Corporate strategy and finance
Councillor Philip Price Deputy leader of Herefordshire Council / Highways and transportation
Councillor Harry Bramer Major contracts
Councillor Russell B Hamilton Environment, housing and planning
Councillor Jeremy Millar Children’s services
Councillor Patricia Morgan Corporate and assets
Councillor Roger Phillips Enterprise and culture
Councillor Graham Powell Health and wellbeing