New draft budget revisions will ease pain of cuts at North East Lincolnshire Council
A RAFT of measures to ease the pain of the cuts have been announced by North East Lincolnshire Council.
Among the ideas approved by Cabinet, in a series of revisions to the council’s draft 2013/14 budget, are:
Deferring a planned increase in charges for meals on wheels for two years – £68,000.
Deferring an increase in taxi licensing fees – £12,000; and deferring the introduction of new-style taxi plates – £5,000.
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Making further investment in promoting the area as a tourist destination, with £100,000 for events and £75,000 for marketing.
Scrapping the proposed transfer of half of one full-time Trading Standards officer into the licensing department. Instead it will fund a fixed-term post in licensing for the next three years at a cost of £7,000.
Spending £30,000 on hosting the Britain In Bloom awards ceremony in Cleethorpes.
The Britain In Bloom event will be paid for by cutting ward funding in each of the 15 wards by £2,000.
Ward funding will also be cut by a further £2,000 in each of the following two financial years, seeing it half from £12,000 this year to £6,000 in 2015/16.
The other revisions will be funded by taking £589,000 out of the council’s reserves over the next three years.
Council leader Chris Shaw said: “These revisions are all about supporting the council’s priorities, which are to support jobs, investment and employment, and look after vulnerable people.”
He added that although the council could only commit to the additional tourism funding for three years, it is hoped the move will generate revenue by increasing the number of visitors to the area.
Car parking income will be monitored to establish the return on the investment.
The decision to defer fee increases for meals on wheels and to scrap the cuts to Trading Standards came after concerns were raised by members of the scrutiny panels last month.
Councillor Shaw said: “People raised concerns and we always said we would listen to concerns. We asked councillors of the other parties to come up with some alternatives which they haven’t done, but we have managed to find the money ourselves.” He added that ward funding was “gravely” underused and so reductions to that budget would not impact on the local community.
The budget will go before full council on Thursday for final approval.