Pledge to provide 'value for money' council services in North Lincolnshire
NORTH Lincolnshire Council will unveil its budget for the 2013-14 financial year at a meeting on Tuesday (February 19).
Government figures show the authority faces a 1.7 per cent cut in the amount it can spend, from £137.7 million in 2012-13 to £135.5m for 2013-14.
Council leader councillor Liz Redfern said she believed all local authorities had to do their bit to cut costs.
She said: "Given the poor state of the nation's finances, everybody at all councils are having to contribute towards paying the massive deficit the country now owes.
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"Our challenges locally are to provide value for money services. We are doing this by being smarter about the way we procure them.
"We are reducing the amount of management we have within the council by reviewing every post over £50,000.
"We are also slashing the amount of money the council spends on consultancy."
Mrs Redfern said a pre-budget consultation had identified care for the elderly, investment in schools and investment in the community as key priorities.
The council's Conservative administration has already announced its intention to keep council tax charges at their current levels for the coming year.
The budget is also expected to include a £2 million-plus investment into Scunthorpe's Quibell Park stadium.
An additional £500,000 is also expected to be ploughed into sporting activities in Brigg.
Mrs Redfern said investments were possible partly through cutting waste and having a commercial policy in place to sell council services to outside organisations.
The policy, approved in November, sees the council target organisations such as schools, public sector bodies and small businesses.
Councillor Mark Kirk, leader of the opposition Labour group on the council, said his group was currently working on its alternative budget.
He said: "We will be working to a zero per cent council tax rise and we will try and work as best we can.
"We will also be looking at what we should be doing on capital projects in the next couple of years."
Mr Kirk also emphasised the potential for business growth in the region.
He said: "There is a great opportunity for us at this moment in time because this is an area of growth.
"By growing an area, more people contribute to council tax and if you grow your businesses, you expect to see an increase in business rates that will come back to the council.
"Equally, when businesses come to locate here, they will look at the services we as a local authority provide."
Get the budget meeting news as it happens on Tuesday evening online at www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk and find out how much council tax you will pay in next Thursday's Telegraph.