Budget cuts on the agenda for Horsham

REDUCING discretionary rate relief by £50,000, cuts in grants and subsidies and axing five full time and one part time posts are among the proposals under consultation as Horsham District Council bids to save £1.3m in the next financial year.

And the council is braced to make more difficult decisions with another £1.8m in savings or income needed by 2015-16.

Residents can have their say by following this website link and taking the survey before November 25, with the council to make its decision in February: www.horsham.gov.uk/council/budget-proposals.aspx

Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), cabinet member for efficiency and taxation, said the proposals would save £1m, with £300,000 still to be found.

He said the council had saved more than £7m in the last five years and its net budget had reduced from £12.83min the 2005-06 financial year to £12.8m in 2011-12.

It had taken on licensing in that time, had avoided significant service cuts and kept council tax low.

“We are looking at a selection of cuts and increases to cope with the financial crisis we find ourselves in,” he said.

“There are no soft options. Having already made £7m in savings we have taken all the soft options in previous years.

“I don’t think the average resident will notice the difference at all.”

Council leader Robert Nye (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) said: “We have taken a large chunk out of the budget without a huge dimunition in services.

“We have been particularly successful in keeping council tax low and we get a miserly settlement from government on that basis.

“The pressure on public finances continues and we are taking steps to ensure we maintain and improve the quality of our services against a backdrop of ever reducing government grant while keeping council tax down.”

For the full story and more about the proposed cuts, see the County Times of October 13.