Council saves taxpayers £2 million

TAXPAYERS in a Suffolk borough could benefit from savings of nearly £2million after a series of cost-cutting measures were drawn up by one of the county's richest councils.

TAXPAYERS in a Suffolk borough could benefit from savings of nearly £2million after a series of cost-cutting measures were drawn up by one of the county's richest councils.

Officials from St Edmundsbury Borough Council say a comprehensive review of the body's services has produced a range of potential cuts and money-making possibilities which could help keep tax bills down in the future.

Now ideas generated through the initiative, known as DR-IVE (Dynamic Review - Innovation, Value, Enterprise), will be presented to the authority's cabinet for further consideration.

"We are committed to keeping council tax rises to the absolute minimum while also delivering excellent services people have the right to expect from us," said Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for resources.


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"Finding savings of nearly £2m is a tremendous achievement, but we will not be stopping there - St Edmundsbury is committed to further improvement and we will be continuing to drive down costs over the next two financial years."

Potential schemes which will be considered include increasing car parking charges in Bury St Edmunds, which could generate as much as £140,000 in extra income each year.

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Charging for pest control services will produce an estimated £13,650, while higher ticket prices at the popular Bury Festival, held in the town each summer, should make around £10,000.

Suggestions also include saving £200,000 on staff salaries, £350,000 on computers and £250,000 on insurance premiums.

"My thanks go to all the teams for the tremendous amount of work which has gone into this process," added Mrs Mildmay-White. "Some of the suggestions will be challenging but cabinet will consider each one carefully before deciding whether to include them in the budget to be taken to full council.

"The bottom line is that we have to take positive action to prevent unsustainable council tax rises."

David Nettleton, who was elected to the council as an Independent who vowed to protect the public purse, welcomed the principle of the DR-IVE initiative, but said some aspects of the proposed changes still needed more careful consideration.

"In principle this is a good idea," he said. "But at the end of it all, we are still left with a predicted 5% rise.

"I am going to propose some changes to the car parking charge increases, as some are a bit over-excessive.

"It is a balance - if the charges are reasonable, then people are happy to pay them, but if they feel the local council is milking them, they will find somewhere else to go, and will park on the streets."

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