East Cambs District Council must find almost £1million in savings by 2015


Money - Credit: Archant

SAVINGS of more than £900,000 will have to be found in order for East Cambridgeshire District Council to balance its budget in 2015/16.

According to a new report published this week, a combination of factors will leave the cash-strapped authority having to find £900,370 in two years time from an already trimmed down budget.

The Ely Standard revealed in July how the district council already has to find savings to plug a £400,000 hole in its balance sheet for next year left by the decision not to press ahead with car park charges in Ely.

But that, combined with deeper cuts to its Government funding, cuts to its new homes bonus payments and money to be spent on funding building projects including the Ely bypass, mean it will be almost £1million short by 2015.

The council has now called in Improvement East to carry out a “root and branch review” of all its spending to begin the process of finding the savings now.

In a report to councillors, chief executive John Hill said: “This represents a very significant challenge to the council. Whilst the requirement to bridge the funding gap is a matter for the 2015/16 budget, it will be important to identify revenue savings as soon as practically possible, preferably in 2014/15, to minimise the 2015/16 gap.

“The council has instructed Improvement East to undertake a root and branch review of all services and staffing across the organisation. This work will be undertaken in August and September and will be making interim recommendations in November.”

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Cuts to the council’s staffing have already prompted a backlash from members of union Unison, who this week lobbied councillors as they arrived for a meeting of the finance and governance committee.

The union has slammed the ruling Conservative group’s plans to press ahead with expensive projects such as the new leisure centre and Ely bypass, accusing some of putting their political ambitions before the needs of residents.