Redditch Borough Council has been issued with a “Section 24 notice” by the Borough’s auditors. The Redditch Standard has the story.

In recent years revenue support grant, new homes bonus allowance and business rate support have all plummeted leaving Redditch with an increasing budget shortfall of £1.5million over the next three years and needing to find £1.2million in savings in the next financial year.

There’s been an immediate freeze on non-essential spending and an efficiency drive has already identified thousands of pounds of savings.

The council is expecting to come up with its future finance plan within the next four to five months.

Redditch Standard, 26th July 2019

My Comments

It’s clear things have got to change at the government level in regards to how they treat local authority funding. I fully appreciate why things have been tough as the country wrestled with massive debts, but that particularly leaking roof should now be fixed.

Whilst it’s true we as a council can – and must – do more to become more commercial and get better value for money for local taxpayers there is only so far we can go before severe impacts are felt on front-line services.

We are doing our bit under local Conservative leadership with a strong team, committed to the vision of unlocking Redditch as we strongly believe our town has great potential.

However, it is time for the government to hand over some of the keys to some of the padlocks they’ve put in place over the years – such as the lock that was placed on the council’s abilities to increase rents.

With new leadership being put in place at central government I am hopeful for a fresh perspective on local government funding – with more funding opportunities and more controls being devolved down to the local level.