James Jamieson’s monthly column: We’re all feeling the pinch, but let’s make 2012 count

WITH Christmas fast approaching, I am sure that like me you are looking forward to spending time with friends and families and catching up on some last-minute shopping.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th December 2011, 5:59 am

Undoubtedly many Central Bedfordshire households are feeling the financial pinch this Christmas and this is certainly something that councillors can relate to as we work on our budget for next year.

Against a backdrop of prolonged cuts in public spending, and informed by residents’ views of where people think our priorities should lie, we have put together a spending plan to deliver savings of £40million up to 2016, including £10.5million for next year.

We want to achieve these savings not by raising council tax, cutting frontline services or putting on hold investment in our area. Instead we have an ambitious plan to deliver council services differently, with a more commercial and collaborative approach and maximising use of technology.

Just as your views informed our spending plans, your feedback is equally vital as we finalise our budget. You can see our budget proposals online, www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations and join in the online discussion at www.letstalkcentral.com

Details are also available from libraries, council offices or your local councillor.

Achieving the scale of savings that we have outlined won’t be easy but you don’t achieve major change without ambitious goals.

And on that ambitious note I’ve made an early New Year’s resolution – to make 2012 a year that really counts for Central Bedfordshire.

The development of Center Parcs near Woburn, and big national contracts such as those won by Lockheed Martin UK for the Ministry of Defence, present huge opportunities for our area. We must make them work to our advantage.

I wish you a happy Christmas and New Year – and if you still have any last minute gifts and food to buy, please do what you can to support our local shops and businesses by buying locally.