Mayor Dave Hodgson and Bedford Borough Lib Dems Pledge to 'Rise to the Challenge' After Government Spending Cuts Announcement
Mayor Dave Hodgson has said that Bedford Borough will 'rise to the challenge' following the news that the Government's first round of spending cuts announced this week could require the Council to make around £3 million of urgent savings.
This week's announcement by the coalition government of £6.2 billion of spending cuts as a first step to tackling the £156 billion government deficit included a statement that £1.165 billion of grants to councils this will be cut this year. If this is applied evenly across the country, it could cause Bedford Borough Council to have to find around £3 million of urgent savings within the current year's budget. The Council identified £9million of savings in the current year to bring down a predicted 11.5% council tax increase to a below-inflation 2.3%, and Mayor Dave Hodgson has responded to this week's news with a pledge that the Council will put residents first as it is called on to do its bit to help tackle the nation's financial crisis.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "The crisis in the nation's finances has implications across all areas of the public sector, and clearly Bedford Borough Council must do its bit in taking urgent action to tackle the deficit. This will be extremely difficult, but we will rise to the challenge and will not shirk the tough decisions ahead. In my view, rising to the challenge means making sure that the interests of local residents come first as we identify the urgent savings that are likely to be around the corner. It means protecting front line services, and supporting the vulnerable in our communities."
Commenting on the scale of the task facing the Council, Liberal Democrat Finance Portfolio Holder Cllr Michael Headley said: "We do not underestimate the task ahead. Our rigorous ongoing drive for year-on-year savings continues while we are now additionally being called on to help plug the vast gap in the public finances. Residents will rightly expect that we protect front line services whilst making the necessary savings.'