Remember that DIY spending review that the Institute for Fiscal Studies designed last Autumn? The numbers are a bit out of date now but the overall scale of the problem is the same. If you mess about with the numbers it’s still enough to scare the shit out of you. (Are you going to update it with more recent numbers Rowena?)
In a similar vein, Essex County Council has published a DIY Budget Maker for next financial year. Even if you don’t live in Essex you’ll find this a bit scary too, because you can bet your life it won’t be a hell of a lot different where you live.
The government grant has been cut so just to maintain this year’s level of service you would have to increase council tax by 14.1%. However, you can’t do that because the council tax has been capped. Your task is, therefore, to take £82 million off next year’s budget by saying which services you would cut. Efficiency savings? Forget it; they’ve already factored that in. Improved procurement, partnership working, shared services, streamlined processes, better IT systems – they’ve done all that and allowed for the projected savings. You’ve got to come up with your £82m by telling the council to stop doing stuff in certain areas.
Patrick Butler had a go at it. He’s a bright lad and he found it difficult enough. See if you can do any better.