Mid Suffolk District Council facing budget challenges ‘unlike anything faced before’

Derrick Haley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council ANL-140416-220256009
Derrick Haley, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council ANL-140416-220256009

The leader of Mid Suffolk District Council says the financial challenges the authority faces over the next few years are “unlike anything” they have faced before.

Last week the Diss Express reported how South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council are preparing for potential funding cuts after chancellor George Osborne launched a spending revue on Whitehall budgets.

Derrick Haley, council leader and portfolio holder for Finance and Resources, said significant savings had been made through staff and service integration with Babergh District Council.

But he added funding through the Revenue Support Grant from the Government, which currently stands at £1.7m, is likely “to disappear” by 2019/20.

“To tackle this, we have already drawn up our Joint Medium Term Financial Strategy with Babergh District Council which sets out how we plan to deal with future changes in the funding model,” he said. “By engaging with communities more and working through solutions together, we hope to adopt a more mixed approach whereby we deliver some things directly but also empower people to do some things for themselves.

“We also aim to take advantage of the new forms of incentivised funding such as New Homes Bonus and Business Rates, as well as look for alternative sources of income, such as the innovative project we embarked on last year to install solar panels on our housing stock.

“This will bring in around £5m net income for both councils over the next 20 years. We’re also planning to build on our successful track record of collaborative working with the Shared Revenue Partnership and the Suffolk Waste Partnership, to ensure we withstand the financial pressures which lie ahead and achieve the best possible outcomes for our communities.”