Beds, Herts & Bucks

Central Bedfordshire Council plans budget cuts of £43m

Cuts of up to £43m are being planned by Central Bedfordshire Council by 2018, in order to balance its budget.

The council's executive has approved the proposals and they will now go out to public consultation until the end of the month before going back to the full council for a final decision.

The savings needed for 2014-15 stand at £17.4m, with a further £25.6m needed over the next three years.

There are no figures on jobs in the draft budget.

The Conservative-controlled council said the focus was "not on cutting jobs, but potentially not filling vacancies and reducing numbers of agency staff".

Councils across the country have been hit by a downturn in the economy and cuts in funding by central government in recent years.

The authority said its £186m draft budget for 2014-15 is "based on freezing the council's proportion of council tax for a fourth year running and protecting frontline services".

Executive member for corporate resources and deputy leader of the council, Maurice Jones said: "We have a proven track record of delivering savings, having delivered £60m of efficiencies since the council came into existence in 2009.

"We remain determined to deliver value for money, so we have carefully scrutinised our spending to look at where further efficiency savings can be made or income generated and have put together a budget that allows us to maintain essential services."

The budget proposals also include plans to invest £48m from the housing revenue account over the next four years to improve accommodation for older people and build new facilities such as the new Priory View extra care scheme in Dunstable.

The council's spending plans are open for public consultation until the end of the month.

Further information and a budget survey are available on the council website.

The executive will use the feedback from the public consultation to finalise its budget proposals which will be considered by full council on 20 February.

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