NHDC outline areas for spending cuts

HELP for the homeless, fly tipping enforcement and market subsidies are all areas that North Herts District Council have earmarked for potential cuts as the axe continues to hang over the organisation.

A report, written by deputy leader of the council Terry Hone, outlined a number of areas where he believes efficiencies can be considered in light of the government’s comprehensive spending review, which is due to be announced on October 20.

The paper was presented to the council’s cabinet at a meeting held on Tuesday night.

At the meeting Cllr Hone said: “This is designed to be a concept, not financial detail.

“We are looking to shape how we develop the budget policy and therefore we have not put numbers on.

“This is hinged on what happens by the end of October and by what the council or executive decides what the funding is going to be.

“We have to decide on the services we want to provide and whether we want to provide the British Airways Service or the Easyjet service.”

Most Read

NHDC’s report specifically mentions a reduction in the support of the Hitchin Sanctuary, which provides temporary shelter for the region’s homeless.

The sanctuary currently receives funding from the council of �7,858 per annum to support its service.

The Comet contacted a representative of the shelter. However, they declined to comment.

Also mentioned in the document is a proposed reduction in enforcing council by-laws such as dog fouling, fly tipping, and verge parking.

The subsidies received by markets in Royston and Hitchin may also be subject to cuts when the comprehensive spending review is announced.

Hitchin Market currently receives a subsidy of �12,500.

The document also outlines where potential savings could come from within the council, with suggestions made to change car lease arrangements, unsociable hours payments, and mileage payments.

Other areas mentioned include the production of town centre strategies, and implementation of redevelopment projects such as Baldock Town Centre.

Council leader Councillor Lynda Needham said: “We understand the importance of providing value for money, and over the last six years we have already made �6.8 million of savings, including �1.3 million for 2010/11.

“Obviously this makes any further efficiency savings more difficult to find.

“We are not yet clear what will be announced in the comprehensive spending review, what the impact will be on what we provide, and how we deliver it.

“What we do know is that it will present us with numerous challenges and a number of tough decisions are going to have to be made.”