Medium Term Financial Plan sets out clear financial strategy to deliver sustainable council
Despite pressures on local government finances, South Somerset District Council (SSDC) has responded with a clear financial strategy that aims to deliver a sustainable financial position - built on customer-focussed, modern and improved services for our customers and creative ways to increase our income.
The Medium Term Financial Plan that was presented at District Executive Committee on Thursday 6 September highlights the good progress made by the Council despite a reduction in its annual general funding from Central Government which has fallen £7.7m since 2010 to just £3.4m.
The initial Financial Strategy that was agreed and set out by the District Council in 2017 included a savings target of £6m per year by 2022/23. To date, we have built in annual savings rising to £4m and remain confident our approach is making good progress to meet the overall savings target.
The ambitious Transformation Programme by the District Council puts residents, businesses and partners first whilst building a Council of the future which is modern, flexible and efficient is on track to save £2.5m per year by next financial year.
The Commercial Strategy is also making good progress, with investments being made in assets including the Marks & Spencer and Wilko buildings in Yeovil as well as investment in an energy storage facility. The Commercial Strategy aims to protect services by generating income to tackle the reduction in government grants and provide additional funding to invest in our communities for example through our ambitious town regeneration schemes.
The Medium Term Financial Plan strengthens SSDC's reserves; helping to ensure a sustainable financial position and provide options for investing in council priorities such as the Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton regeneration programmes.
Councillor Peter Seib, Portfolio Holder for Finance at South Somerset District Council said, "This is more than just survival in a tough environment. Careful, competent and creative leadership at SSDC has meant that the Council can still offer a full range of services and provide support to residents and businesses. Our success so far means that we have even been able to commit to new long-term projects, such as town centre regeneration. We don't know what the future holds, we still have work to do, but we're in a position some Councils would envy".
Whilst there is a clear financial strategy to deliver a sustainable council, South Somerset District Council recognise there is further uncertainty in local government funding beyond the 2019/20 financial year with changes likely through the Government's Spending Review, the Fair Funding Review and changes to the Business Rates Retention funding baseline.