Protecting frontline services will be ‘almost impossible’ with new budget
Frontline services in Luton could be at risk as the council may have to save an extra £20million in the next three years.
This is due to new Government proposals to change the business rates and benefits system, which could push the council’s savings target to £48million.
Council leader Hazel Simmons said the latest targets present a major threat.
She said: “These latest plans will be a real game changer. We have worked hard to protect local people from the worst effects of the government’s public spending reductions so far but these additional measures present a major threat. We are potentially dealing with a total reduction in planned spending of £84 million in a period of just five years.”
Around six per cent of the savings made to date have affected the frontline services in Luton.
Cllr Simmons said: “We are doing our best to protect local services in Luton but it’s clear from these latest proposals that it’s going to be almost impossible for us to continue to do that.
“We are already asking people to comment on the impacts of reduced spending through the Luton Your Say consultation, in order to inform decisions based on the original target, but this new demand will greatly reduce our options. Some really tough decisions now look inevitable from this autumn onwards and consequently the impacts are likely to be greater.”
The idea is to make local authorities more ‘self-reliant’ financially and encourage them to attract more businesses to their area, but at the same time the Government intends to make further reductions to the local government support grant and make big changes to the benefits system.
The Government says its plans to put councils in charge of providing support for council tax are part of wider reforms focused on ending a culture of benefit dependency and making sure that it always pays to work.
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Weather for Luton
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North