'Savings are good result'

PUBLISHED: 17:03 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 07:16 30 May 2010

A COUNCIL beset with money problems is beginning to make some headway towards reducing its running costs. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is faced with the daunting task of cutting its annual bill by £1.3 million within four years. Officers believe a

A COUNCIL beset with money problems is beginning to make some headway towards reducing its running costs.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is faced with the daunting task of cutting its annual bill by £1.3 million within four years.

Officers believe a good start has been made by finding almost £600,000 worth of savings in the budget for 2008/09.

Chief Executive John Mitchell said the savings were a "good result" for the people of Uttlesford and added that the council was now enjoying its "second year of financial stability".

It is expected that the bulk of the £568,000 saving will be used to plug the hole left by the money that was lost when it was invested in an Icelandic bank. UDC still has more than £2 million at risk in the collapsed bank Landsbanki, but the council is hopeful to get about 95 per cent of this back.

The money will also be used to pay for the one-off costs involved with setting up partnerships with other councils.

Leader of UDC, Cllr Jim Ketteridge, said: "The council's revised financial procedures are tight and it is due to this continued focus on the bottom line that such a good result has been achieved - and without it being at the expense of frontline services."

The council is hoping to cut its running cost by £1.3 million, without cutting frontline services, by forming partnerships with other councils.

This could mean that some core services such as customer services, council tax, benefits, mailroom and IT, are moved away from Saffron Walden to authorities including Welwyn Hatfield District Council and Harlow District Council.

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