West Norfolk Council leader is proud of budget savings

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors
Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors
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West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney has defended the £3 million worth of savings made in the last two financial years made after coming under fire from a union.

Mr Daubney says he is proud that the council has made £7.2 million worth of savings since 2009 and praised officers for coming up with many efficiency ideas.

Unison said Norfolk councils have cut £108 million from services with £2,952,000 made by West Norfolk, between 2010 and 2013.

Mr Daubney, who has not disputed the figures, said the council has generated new income streams along with making big savings on contracts.

He said: “I am very proud of the savings and services to the public have been in many cases improved because we have found better ways of doing things. Since 2005, our local council tax bill has risen by three per cent.

“In the next three years we are going to have to look at significant sums of savings and we shall be doing that in conjunction with the staff as we have in the past.

“We value our staff. They are excellent and that is why we support them strongly with training programmes. I’m particularly pleased the way our staff have risen to the challenge and delivered savings.”

The council has developed income by sharing services with other authorities. It has also leased the ground floor of the King’s Court Offices to West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group along with sharing Lynnsport with the College of West Anglia.

Management of buildings such as Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre have been moved to the private sector and it is looking to form a leisure trust to manage the sports facilities. This will open up grant funding opportunities.

The council has saved nearly £1 million on its refuse contract and is also looking to make further savings on the new recycling contract.

Mr Daubney said early retirement had shrunk the size of the management team.

He said: “A big part of our income comes directly from Government and when that gets reduced by 20 to 35 per cent, clearly you have to change.”

But UNISON regional organiser Brian Lynch said: “The figures showing what has already been cut from council budgets are truly shocking.

“They reveal the true scale of the devastating cuts that took place in the first two years of the Coalition government, and it is alarming that the worst is yet to come.”