Have your say on Bedford Borough Council’s spending plans

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Bedford Borough Council is asking for your views on their 2020 Budget and the Capital Programme.

The Budget sets out how the Council will fund the delivery of ongoing and day-to-day services for local residents, while the Capital Programme looks at one-off spending and investing in schemes and projects to improve the Borough.

The 2020 Budget and Efficiency Plan sets out how the Council will save £18million by 2025, with reduced central government funding and a rise in demand for services.

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Bedford council has already saved in excess of £104million, and continues to face difficult times and some very tough decisions.

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The new proposed Efficiency Plan from 2021-2015 builds on a previous four-year Efficiency Plan that was agreed in 2016:

- Digital - building on the Council’s move towards providing services online;

- Procurement - improved procurement and contract management for external services;

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- Reviewing - carrying out in-depth reviews of all department budgets;

- Commercial - focusing on increased commercial activity and income generation;

- Service change - looking at changes to services the Council provides.

The Capital Programme sets out how the Council will invest one-off funding in projects and schemes.

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It includes investment in schools, improving the public space around Allhallows, enhancing Bedford Park Cricket Pavilion, and the extension of CCTV at Norse Road Cemetery.

Cllr Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance, said “Local authorities across the country continue to face challenging financial times, with difficult decisions to be made and Bedford Borough is no exception.

"With reduced central government funding and a rise in demand for services, including vital social care for both adults and children, as a council we need to look carefully at how we continue to work efficiently and protect vital services for local residents.

“At the same time through our Capital Programme, which focuses on one-off investment rather than ongoing spend, we are looking to invest in projects for the future.

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“Please let us know your thoughts, ideas and views on these proposals as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.”

Have you say online at www.bedford.gov.uk/budget2020 and www.bedford.gov.uk/capital2020; by email to [email protected]; or write to Consulting Bedford, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford, MK42 9AP. Hard copies of the consultation documents are available at the Customer Service Centre, Borough Hall, and local libraries.

Comments should be received by Friday, January 17, 2020, and may be published. The Council’s Executive will consider responses to the consultation, at its meeting on 22 January 2020.