Cuts of £4 million as economic woes linger

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COUNCIL bosses plan to slash more than £4 million from the borough’s spending over the next four years.

The savings figure, contained in Dacorum Borough Council’s latest spending plans, is designed to take into account shrinking government support and increased spending due to the recession.

A report to councillors says: “Whilst the council has been able over the last five years to make ongoing savings and efficiencies to mitigate the impact of the recession and reductions in government funding, there has been a significant increase in demand for a number of key services.”

Details of where the cuts will take place have not 
been decided but a Budget Review Group will consider alternative service delivery methods, options for shared services, staff costs and fees and charges.

The report says an increase in the number of households has required more investment in waste services while the recession has seen more pressure on the benefits service and more people declaring themselves homeless.

A meeting of the council’s cabinet agreed to set aside an extra £80,000 to support the homelessness service, bringing the predicted total spend for this year to £160,000.

Councillors also decided to embark on a scheme where the council leases properties from the private landlords, which are then used to house the homeless.

A report says: “The council has experienced an unpredented increase in the incidence of homelessness over the past nine months.”

Councillor Margaret Griffiths, cabinet member for housing, said: “This is an important project.

“It will establish us in getting people in bed and breakfast accommodation into stable accommodation.”