Councillor admits tighter budgets could see services suffer in Warwick district

Cllr Peter Whiting made the comments during Wednesday's executive meeting
Cllr Peter Whiting made the comments during Wednesday's executive meeting

A Warwick district councillor has issued a stark warning about how difficult it will be to protect services while balancing the books over the next few years.

Cllr Peter Whiting (Con, Abbey), portfolio holder for finance, told yesterday's (Wednesday) executive committee that making savings is getting harder each year.

In proposing a budget review - which was voted through at the meeting - Cllr Whiting said: “The savings that this council needs to deliver will increase quite significantly.

"In 2020/21, the saving requirement is now £779,000 and that figure is stated after the anticipated savings from our Fit for the Future model that includes, for example, the savings of the proposed relocation from Riverside House.

“Covent Garden car park is falling down and there is no reserve there ready to fund its replacement and that, I would argue, is a very clear and direct consequence of this strange approach to accounting that is forced on us by central government.

“We are OK this year but in subsequent periods this council will have to continue doing what it has done very successfully for several years now and that is to make savings while trying not to make cuts to services.

"But that process cannot continue indefinitely and I think we are seeing the consequences of the savings that are being made and the stress that is putting on officers as they try to deliver an unchanged level of service.

“I don’t think it was easy to save £600,000 a year three years ago but we did it. It is a lot harder to do it now but we have to do it to deliver a balanced budget and I think that all of us from all sides of the council chamber should remember that.”

As part of the budget review, it was agreed that an emergency payment of £11,500 be made to Chase Meadow Community Centre to cover costs including the salary of their part-time community development manager.