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Redditch Borough Councillors are set to approve “strong and steady” budget proposals which span over the next four years and which address concerns from auditors.

Last year the Council’s auditors Grant Thornton, under a Section 24 notice, made recommendations to the authority including identifying savings for 20/21 and for 21/22 so that Council funds would not be depleted further.

This meant the Council had to find £5.5m of savings over the next three years with £1.2m of this being delivered in the next financial year (2020/21).

Councillors reacted quickly to the calls and have already seen over £250k of savings with the closure of One Stop Shops, withdrawal from Rubicon Business Centre and a review of the Voluntary Community Service funding.

Additional funding received from Government from New Homes Bonus Grant of £494k and increasing the Council Tax by £5 a year, based on a band D property seeing an increase £239.15 to £244.15, has also increased funds.

Redditch Borough Council’s Executive Member for Corporate Management, Cllr David Thain said: “We responded quickly to the auditor’s recommendations, setting up a budget scrutiny group and earmarking these difficult, but necessary decisions.

“We wanted to ensure our taxpayers’ money was directed at services which were aligned to the Council’s strategic priorities but wanted to look long-term, rather than making knee-jerk decisions.

“I am confident we are making great strides to meet the recommendations of the auditors at a strong and steady pace.”

The report also sets out identified savings of £467k including:-

  • Income generated from new 0 -19 Prevention & Early Intervention contract £32k

  • A reduction in insurance budgets of £80k due to a new insurance contract being tendered.

  • Savings from the management review £54k

  • Reduction in enabling costs £45k

  • Reduction in costs associated with the Dial A Ride service £90k

Council Leader Matt Dormer said: “With reductions in grants including revenue and business rate support and New Homes Bonus, gone are the days when we can support groups, businesses and projects which are not directly related to our Council’s purposes.

“Instead we need to focus on running our services like a commercial business and where possible being more efficient and even generating income.

“I am extremely delighted with how we have pulled together, officers and members alike, to realise that we have no choice but to work differently if we are to do the best by our residents, as demonstrated by this budget.”

The Council’s Executive Committee are set to recommend the medium-term financial plan on Monday February 24 with full Council being asked to approve it at a meeting straight after.