Wealden’s services ‘on the wire’

ANY EXTRA EXPENSES during the next few years will force Wealden’s regional authority to make more service cuts.

This bleak announcement was given in an update report for Wealden District Council (WDC) on the ‘Transformation Programme’ created to find ways of saving costs and design services in the difficult economic climate.

Extra resources have been needed to implement the programme and the report said that as district council staff resources decrease there were a number of areas where ‘we are running close to the wire’.

A need to reduce staff numbers will also continue so there was no guarantee there would be no further redundancies, the report said.

There were also times when ‘unexpected events’ meant the council fell ‘below the high standard we have set ourselves’.

Prompt action was needed when this happened, the report added.

The report said: “The worsened financial position means that WDC now has no leeway or contingency left.

“Current Transformation projects must be delivered and benefits realised and on top of this extra savings must be identified.

“Any unexpected expenditure which this council incurs over the next few years will require additional equivalent cost reductions which can only be achieved by service cuts or identifying opportunities for increased income.”

Some £500,000 less than anticipated was found in the final ‘formula grant settlement’ at the end of 2010.

Another £400,000 savings is needed in the next four years or higher, the report said.