This week’s guest column comes from Coun Doreen Stephenson, leader of East Lindsey District Council...
The current economic climate, coupled with increasing reductions in government funding means that many businesses and organisations are having to think differently about how they do things – and East Lindsey District Council is no different.
In recent years we have seen our funding from government cut by millions of pounds, on top of costs for items like energy and fuel for our vehicles increasing. This has left us in the position of having to take difficult, but important, decisions in order to maintain the frontline services people expect from their local council.
One of the decisions we have made recently is to agree to set up a Charitable Trust in a bid to safeguard our leisure, health and cultural services while saving around £1 million of taxpayers’ money in the first five years. We have also agreed to offer a £5 million investment loan to New Linx Housing which will earn in the region of £950k over the five year loan period.
These measures come on top of a raft of savings and new ways of working we’ve implemented in recent years, including merging some back office services with neighbouring authorities.
As a direct result of making these changes the council has been able to safeguard vital services at the same time as continuing to help those residents and businesses who need support – such as the Disabled Facility Grants, Councillor and Community Grants and the Rural Development Fund which offers grants and interest-free loans to local businesses and those wishing to start their own business.
We will endeavour to continue to deliver the best services we can in the most cost effective way possible, offering good value for money to residents, and keeping our council tax precept the lowest in the county.