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Council finance chief warns over further savings

Published on:

20 May 2016

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Enfield Council’s new finance chief is warning residents that the authority may need to make further cuts to services amidst further changes to the way local authorities are funded.

Enfield Council’s new finance chief is warning residents that the authority may need to make further cuts to services amidst further changes to the way local authorities are funded.

Cllr Dino Lemonides, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance & Efficiency, said that while the council was on course to hit its savings targets for 2016/17, future uncertainties on the horizon around the phasing out of Government funding which will be replaced by local business rates, the planned introduction of a National Funding Formula for schools and other changes involving housing and planning meant more savings could be required.

Enfield Council has had to save £118 million since 2010 because of reductions in funding from central government – 49% in real terms - and increasing pressures on its services, and needs to save £56 million more by 2019/20 as government funding continue to shrink.

The Government is expected make a further £3.5bn cut to public spending in 2019/20 although it is not known at this stage whether Council funding for 2019/20 will be affected or how it will impact on business rates

Cllr Lemonides said: “Although I am pleased we are keeping a tight rein on the Council’s budget, it is clear that thanks to significant cuts to our budget from central government that further savings will continue to affect Council services across the board.  “The £56 million we need to find by 2019/20 is more than we currently spend annually on cleaning the streets, collecting the bins and lighting our streets, so we are absolutely committed to finding new and innovative ways of providing services to minimise the cost burden on residents.

“However if councils are required to contribute to the Government’s £3.5bn reduction  we could face the spectre of having to make cuts as deep as £64m by 2019/20, this will have a huge impact on the vulnerable and causes us huge concerns. ”The scale of the savings we have already had to deliver mean that efficiencies are no longer enough. Difficult decisions about the future of services across the board are having to be made.

“However, as a local authority we are responding positively to this challenge – and doing everything we can to ensure we are a Council that is flexible, responsive and organised around the needs of our residents.

“We do have to deliver more for less, but by being innovative and creative and finding new ways to work, we are striving to protect many of the services our residents rely on – and maintain service quality. However there is no doubt that task gets harder and harder to do as budgets continue to drop.”

A growing population is putting even more pressure on shrinking resources, Enfield’s population increased by an average of 4,200 per year between 2004 and 2014.