County agree £46.5m in cuts

Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid.
Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid.

BUDGET cuts of £46.5m for 2011-12 have been approved by Northumberland County Council.

The agreement also includes net spending of £479m and at least £45m of efficiency savings needed to produce a viable budget.

Despite the financial challenge faced by the authority, key frontline services including libraries, schools and leisure centres have been protected from cuts, with many of the savings being made in back office functions.

More than £1.7m a year, over five years, has been saved by a review of the senior management structure.

In an attempt to ease the financial hardship facing residents, the local authority’s council tax precept is to be frozen.

Council leader Jeff Reid said: “The economic recession and national cuts in public spending have created an unprecedented and challenging financial situation for councils across the country.

“It has been a long and hard road to balance the budget and some tough decisions have had to be taken along the way.

“We have looked carefully at how we can reduce expenditure, increase income and make efficiency savings while minimising the impact on frontline services, residents and council staff.

“It is inevitable, given the level of savings required that some cuts have had to be made, however, protecting frontline services has always been a top priority and the council’s investment in key services such as highways, children and young people, adult services, leisure and libraries remains strong.”

A full copy of the report, including a detailed break down of all savings can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk/budget