No change to services this year
The council has dropped plans to move provision of services and assets to parish councils beginning this year. The Ambler understands that, at a meeting with Amble Town Council, the county council apologised for letters they had sent which they accepted had caused confusion. Figures given to parish councils in the county were “guesstimates” they acknowledged, and they promised to hold discussions over the next six months. The county council also pledged that there would be no changes or reductions in services until April 2012.
Jeff Reid, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “In setting the 2011/12 budget, the Liberal Democrat Administration will no longer consider proposals to reduce or remove the local services listed within our recent communication. Instead, we will work with parish and town councils over the next six months to understand the precise local picture, the costs and implications for each parish and come to a mature agreement.
“The scale of the financial challenge remains but I hope this will give us a more realistic time frame to work together to ensure any valued services can continue to be delivered and sustained.”
The county council will have to make approximately £110m savings over the next four years following on from £50m savings that have already been made during the previous two years.
These are very tough financial times for the authority and we have been looking at all our services to see if they can be provided in a more effective or efficient way.
One option we have been exploring is for parish councils to consider taking on some local services that are currently provided by NCC . A letter was sent out , at the request of NALC, to inform town and parish councils how much we consider the delivery of those services would cost so that parishes could make an informed decision.
It has never been our intention to impose the delivery of services onto parishes or that residents would be charged twice for services, however I understand there has been some misunderstanding of the issue and I have spoken to many parish councils to understand fully their concerns.