Peterborough continues to deliver a balanced budget - but challenges to come in future years

Peterborough City Council continues to deliver a balanced budget in 2019/20 but like many other councils, still has significant savings to find in the future.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, 4 February, the council will set out its approach for the delivery of a sustainable budget over the next three years.

In order to meet these challenges, the council continues to tighten the purse strings, focus on what’s important and to continue to work collaboratively and invest in the city’s future in order to achieve additional income.

However, rising demands on adults and children’s services, and inflation, coupled with dwindling grants from Central Government, mean councils nationally will face significant challenges from 2020/21 onwards.

Cllr John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “For the past seven years we have had to find sizable savings - which do not reflect our city’s growth rate. This coupled with rising national demands has meant we have had to do far more with far less money. This year alone we have saved £23.6million.

“Year on year we have achieved these savings, by being efficient, effective and continuing to generate additional income. We continue to do everything we can to protect services, our city’s infrastructure and growth in what is a challenging landscape. We have left no stone unturned.”

Money generating achievements that are helping next year’s budget include an additional £1.3m in business rates from the Peterborough Gateway at Roxhill, Great Haddon and £500K a year generated through the council’s Energy Recovery Facility.

Other forms of income, such as business rates from Fletton Quays, renting out the partner area of Sand Martin House and profits made by the council’s Local Authority Trading Company will be realised in the coming years.

Cllr David Seaton, cabinet member for resources, said: “We are continuing to deliver a balanced budget and reduce the overall budget gap. Our prudent approach of considering the budget throughout the year is working.

“Details of the Government’s Fairer Funding Review are still uncertain, which means we must continue to identify longer term savings and additional income.

“Our collaborative working with Cambridgeshire County Council is a longer term project which will deliver a sizable amount of year on year savings.

“Likewise, by continuing to invest in the city’s growth and infrastructure and by setting up innovative income earners such as our new trading company, we will become more resilient.

“This will go some way to protect us, however, the scale of the savings we - and other councils - must make in 2020/21 and 2021/22 are so high, income generation alone is not the solution.”

Following the publication of the proposals, members of the public can get involved by reading the Tranche Three budget document and completing an online consultation questionnaire.

Hard copies of the budget proposals document and questionnaire will be available at Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions and in each of the city’s libraries by the formal launch of the consultation at 9am on Monday 28 January.

The consultation will close on 4 March at 5pm. Cabinet will consider comments on Monday, 25 February 2019 and Full Council will debate the Tranche Three proposals on Wednesday, 6 March 2019.

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