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Great Yarmouth Borough Council cabinet give go ahead for major money-saving consultation

PUBLISHED: 19:54 15 July 2014 | UPDATED: 20:07 15 July 2014

The Town Hall in Great Yarmouth.
May 2014.

Picture: James Bass

The Town Hall in Great Yarmouth. May 2014. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2014

A major consultation into how cash-strapped Great Yarmouth Borough Council can save nearly £5m over the next five years will start later this month.

Cabinet approved two documents at their Town Hall meeting tonight; a medium term financial strategy (MTFS) setting out how much needs to be saved and a transformation and efficiency programme report, laying the groundwork for where savings will come from.

The council has said it is currently in “an unsustainable financial position” and cannot carry on using cash from its general fund reserves to cover a growing deficit. Savings of £4.7m will be needed by 2018/19.

Both financial reports, which suggest tough times ahead, will go to full council on July 22 before a 12-week public consultation starts on July 28.

Asked if the money saving proposals being put forward by consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were too “draconian”, director of resources Seb Duncan said: “I think making sure that bottom line is achieved is important and how that is delivered is entirely for member to decide. I would agree there are a myriad ways of delivering the savings. The PwC briefings are just one of the options.”

Councillor Brian Walker added: “Over the next couple of years we’ve got to get stuck in and bring the figures back in line and I’m sure we can do it.”

During the consultation, residents will be invited to complete forms online and give feedback on specific proposals.

BMG Research, an independent market research agency, will then be brought into analyse the survey results before a savings programme is decided on.

Tonight’s meeting also saw members agree to reinstate the ward budgets and recommend Gordon Mitchell is employed as the new interim chief executive officer for a minimum of 12 months.

All cabinet recommendations will go before full council on July 22.

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