Comet country services affected by Spending Review

PUBLIC services across Comet country have been considering measures and means to save money, following the announcement of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review last week.

Chancellor George Osborne highlighted in his speech at the House of Commons that a number of cuts would be made, including 7.1 percent and four percent annual decreases in funding for local government and policing respectively over four years.

And it looks set that our services will have to make some heavy changes across all areas in order to meet the cuts.

Hertfordshire County Council have announced that they will have to cut their staff numbers by 10 percent over the next three years, to meet their saving target of �150 million. A spokesman for the council said:

“We are in difficult financial times and the council, along with the rest of the public sector, faces some tough choices.


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“With staffing making up such a large percentage of our costs, it would not have been possible to meet our savings target and prioritise frontline services without reducing the number of employees.”

Central Bedfordshire Council also have proposals to cut jobs, with around 100 expected to go over the next three years.

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A spokesman said that changes to services were “inevitable”, and that proposals for these changes would become clearer when they will be considered at Executive level by the council early next month.

North Herts District Council will also know more about how they will deal with the cuts once detailed proposals have been drawn up. These will then be discussed when the cabinet meets in December.

Leader of the NHDC Cllr Lynda Needham said that they had been expecting a reduction in funding.

“Work to identify potential savings has been ongoing for some months as we have been preparing ourselves for a reduction in the grant we receive from government,” she said.

“The next step is for councillors to consider detailed proposals.”

Both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police may also see a decrease in staffing, with Herts Constabulary saying that their freeze on officer and staff recruitment would continue.

“Despite our best efforts, it is inevitable that the outcome of the spending review will mean changes to the way police services are provided,” said a spokesman from the constabulary.

“Over 80% of our money is spent on people, so maintaining our current numbers over the coming years is not an option.”

The health service was protected by the Spending Review, and NHS Hertfordshire said they were pleased with this decision, but added that they still needed to make savings.

“We continue to need to make savings by doing things differently and more efficiently,” said a spokesman.

“The financial settlement that has been announced will not cover the increased cuts that come with an ageing population, together with new technologies and higher cost drugs.”

NHS Bedfordshire echoed this, and added that they would target more of their resources into patient care.

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