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Thursday, September 4, 2014

County set to consider £4.6 budget cuts

Councillors in Denbighshire are set to discuss budget cuts that could save the authority £4.6 million over the next two financial years - in response to the Welsh Government announcement that  the financial settlement for the county was going to be worse than expected.
Over recent months, the council has scrutinised all aspects of its work, with all services putting forward proposals for cuts.  

Discussions have been taking place over recent weeks and the first set of proposals will be discussed by councillors at a full cuncil meeting in County Hall, Ruthin on Tuesday, September 9, at 10am.

The implication of  Welsh Government's announcement is that Denbighshire County Council will need to find £18m over the next two years.

All proposals are subject to debate by council and  further proposals will need to be worked-up over the coming months in order to achieve the savings target.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Lead Member for Finance and Assets, said: "Over recent years, the Council has found its savings with little or no impact on frontline services.  

"We made a commitment to protect these services and jobs wherever possible and we believe we have been successful in doing this to date. However, with the significant financial savings we need to make over the coming years, inevitably there will be an impact on services, as we look to reduce or stop services altogether.  

"We have been working very pro actively as a council on developing our budget strategy for 2015/6 and beyond,  to ensure that we are not having to take knee jerk reactions late in the year. We have developed a new system for providing our councillors with choices over where we make our reductions in budget and we have worked our way through detailed discussions on each and every one of our service areas."

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: "We have done as much as we can through careful financial planning. The time has now come for very difficult decisions. 

"The financial settlement we are expecting from the Welsh Government later this year is expected to be worse than predicted, with the Minister announcing in June that we would need to find an additional £3 million on top of the £6 million cuts we were already planning to find.  

"That does mean that there are tough decisions ahead and a lot of our proposals will need to be worked up in terms of the finer detail.  Communication with our communities and residents is key and we are making a firm commitment to sharing the finer details when we are in a position to do so."

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