Council consults over proposed savings to help meet £46m budget shortfall

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Southampton City Council (SCC) has opened its draft budget consultation for 23/24, as it says councils across the country face “unprecedented financial challenges from the cost-of-living crisis and continued rising demand for adult and children’s social care services”.

The authority also blames reductions in funding from central government.

The draft identifies over £17 million of savings - but SCC says a further £28.9 million of savings still need to be found.

The main consultation proposals are:

• Removal of the one-month council tax exemption for empty and unfurnished properties
• Energy cost efficiency through the reduction of street lighting and switching to LED lighting (SCC’s energy costs are expected to rise by £3m next year)
• Increase in service charges, rent, and landlord-controlled heating costs in council owned homes

Council leader Cllr Satvir Kaur (Lab) said: “All local authorities are having to respond to increases in demand and the cost-of-living crisis, and we are no different. The tsunami of additional costs we are facing are adding significant pressure to services that are already extremely stretched and it is getting more and more difficult to protect the frontline services on which everybody depends. With more people understandably accessing our services at a time of great need, it’s imperative we continue to prioritise those who rely on us most.

“Despite these challenges, we remain ambitious for Southampton, working hard to deliver on our promises, creating places to be proud of, putting in place plans to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and offering value for money. I would encourage everyone to have their say in the consultation.”

You can comment from this link until January 10, 2023.

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