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BREAKING NEWS: Council Offices Could Be Sold As Massive Savings Needed

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2:38pm 26th November 2012
(Updated 2:44pm 26th November 2012)

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council needs to make millions of pounds worth of savings according to a new report.

The council needs to spend £3.9M less EVERY YEAR by 2019/20.

Proposals to save money include selling the council's offices on North Quay and the Guildhall.

The Management Committee will look at the cost saving measures on 4th December.

And residents will be asked their views on far-reaching proposals by councillors to protect front line services and keep council tax down.
 
Over the past two years the amount of money the borough council receives from the Government has fallen by 28%. Further large cuts are anticipated until 2019/20.
 
Like householders, the council has also seen many of its costs, such as fuel and energy, rise far ahead of inflation. Income and the value of its investments has also fallen.


The Budget Working Group issued the following joint statement to WESSEX FM NEWS:
 
"Facing an historically difficult time for local government funding, local councillors set aside political differences to establish a cross party Budget Working Group that has been undertaking detailed strategic planning work for several months.
 
"Whilst other councils are failing, this budget is the first of several that will secure the long term provision of essential and valued services to our Weymouth & Portland community.
 
"We committed ourselves to protect those services that make a real difference to the quality of life of our most vulnerable residents such as our homelessness prevention work and housing advice service, those services we all rely upon such as our current regular refuse collection and those services that perform a vital task in protecting local residents as with our environmental health work.
 
"We will protect essential services by:
 
-  Restructuring non essential discretionary services
-  Rationalising the property portfolio (including the disposal of the Council Offices and Guildhall)
-  Set aside sufficient funding to maintain council assets that are retained
-  Reducing the number of councillors and moving to a four yearly election cycle
-  Reducing management costs through further partnership work
 
"Weymouth & Portland Borough Council has an excellent track record in protecting services. When other councils were already cutting back we stripped out waste from our core services and we led the country with a ground breaking partnership with West Dorset District Council reducing management costs and producing ongoing savings in excess of £2 million for the two councils.
 
"This budget paper seeks to reform how we deliver non essential services starting with alternate ways of providing for the performing arts and tourist information. We acknowledge that these reforms will not be universally welcomed and that they will lead to the loss of council jobs with the inevitable distress for the employees affected.
 
"However if we fail to tackle the problem we will condemn all services, including those most critical to the well being of our residents, to a slow, painful and protracted demise."

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