'Oldham means business' budget goes to full Council

Oldham Council is set to consider the final budget proposals for 2012/3 on how to find £24m in savings – and to invest in a brighter future for the Borough.

The budget will go before Full Council on Wednesday, February 22, a meeting that will be streamed live on our website at http://www.oldham.gov.uk/

The report sets out final proposals to find £24.493m in savings to balance next year’s budget following consultation with residents, partners and staff.

The proposals are framed by the ambition to become a Co-operative Council plus a focus on value for money and transforming how services are delivered in the future.

They include no Council Tax rise for residents and seek to lay foundations for Oldham to rebuild. 

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “Compiling this budget clearly required tough decisions but from the outset we rejected the approach of simply imposing a cut across-the-board to services.”

“We know what services are important to residents and that has been a driving force in these measures.

”There are no proposals here to close community buildings or libraries down, for example, and we’ve worked hard on making savings in back office functions like procurement, cutting non-essential spending and looking at how to deliver more for less in order to protect frontline services.

“However, it’s equally vital this is a budget that says ‘Oldham means business’ and seeks to lay the foundations for rebuilding our Borough.

”Despite the economic challenges we face it’s imperative to have a long-term vision and set money aside to invest in our Co-operative future – one in which Oldham Council ‘does our bit’ by working alongside people and communities to realise their aspirations.

”In housing, for example, this new investment framework will see us cooperating with social landlords and developers to get 1,200 new homes underway, and helping first-time buyers get on the property ladder through our Oldham Mortgage scheme.

”Further announcements will also be forthcoming about our ambitions to deliver better training opportunities, attract inward investment and jobs, and regeneration across our districts.

”Our challenge here is not just to balance the books in economic austerity but also to ensure the Borough – our residents, businesses and partners – is best placed to capitalise when the recovery arrives.”

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, added: “It is extremely difficult to find savings of £24 million – and it will be even more difficult next year – but we have a clear responsibility to deliver a balanced budget and have done so in record time.”

”The vast majority of these savings were identified by last December and that is tribute to the hard work and innovation of staff.

”Not only does this budget seek to invest in the future and enhance opportunities but it is also one that is on the side of residents today.

”We appreciate the economic difficulties which everyone is facing and these proposals seek to protect the frontline services they value whilst also delivering no rise in Council Tax for 2012/3.”

The budget meeting can be viewed live from 6pm on February 22 on the Oldham Council website.

The Public Question Time section – which enables residents to submit questions via email and Social Media – will return for the next meeting of Full Council on April 18.

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