Comhairle must save millions

Next year’s budget is being discussed at a meeting of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Policy and Resources Committee today.

The budgetary process is underway amidst an economic climate of national recession and cutbacks in public service spending.

A report going before Councillors states that the Comhairle has to identify an estimated £1.8m of savings for the next financial year.

The report also looks at the likely financial situation facing the local authority beyond 2010/11. It is expected that the level of funding will fall in real terms and this will present significant challenges for the Comhairle with indicative savings of over £10m being required over three years.

Council Leader Angus Campbell

Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said: “Local authorities across Scotland are facing tough times and the Comhairle faces particular issues arising from the demographics of the Islands. The elderly population in the islands continues to grow meaning more people requiring services. School rolls continue to decline meaning less income in our revenue support grant.

This is all against a national picture of economic decline and rising costs. To meet these challenges is going to require us to look at everything we do in local government and see if we can do it better, more efficiently.

It may mean that we change the way we do things. We are determined to continue providing high quality services but we need to meet our budgetary obligations. The Comhairle is also committed to no compulsory redundancies as far as is possible.

However we may have to be flexible, be willing to change how we do things, acheive greater efficiency. By working together we can meet the challenges that our Islands face” .

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