Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Financial Outlook Is Dire.' Mayor Challenges Councillors to Each Think Up How to Save Pounds 1m

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Financial Outlook Is Dire.' Mayor Challenges Councillors to Each Think Up How to Save Pounds 1m

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY MCKENZIE

THE financial outlook for Middlesbrough Council over the next few years is dire.

That is the latest warning from the borough's Mayor Ray Mallon, who says more jobs in the authority will go.

That is why he has now challenged councillors to each put forward an idea which would save more than pounds 1m.

Mr Mallon spelled out the situation facing the authority at a full council meeting.

He said that, two years ago, the expectation was that the council would have to save pounds 50m - as well as losing pounds 8.9m a year from the Working Neighbourhoods Fund. Now, Mr Mallon expects the savings alone to have to top pounds 60m - and warns it could increase further.

He said that, last year, the council saved pounds 13.8m. A further pounds 13.8m will be cut this year, in 2013/14 pounds 11.9m is required and - the year after - savings would be pounds 10.8m.

"But now, I think that a further pounds 9.9m in savings will be required," the Mayor told councillors.

It means that the authority's budget for services other than education and benefit would fall from pounds 236m to pounds 176m.

"It will be drastic indeed," Mr Mallon warned. "There will be more jobs lost. This council is going to shrink. Some things we do now we'll no longer do.

"We will have focussed priorities.

It has to be this way.

"The priorities have to equal the money envelope.

"We can't overspend. There is less in the envelope now and there will be even less as the years go by," said the Mayor.

Mr Mallon said he intended to present proposals for the next financial year's budget in October. They would then go out for public consultation.

"I am not interested in people suggesting making savings in paper clips and drawing pins - we will do that," he added. "We have to save millions of pounds and I expect councillors to earn their money. I want to know ideas that would each save pounds 1m-plus - and I want people to think beyond closing mima.

"It is dire and it has to be big numbers that we are saving.

Independent councillor Joan McTigue said more cash could come from public facilities and buildings. …

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