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People the priority in savings plans, say council chiefs

SOUTH SHIELDS TOWN HALL ... the council is relocating a number of staff there.

SOUTH SHIELDS TOWN HALL ... the council is relocating a number of staff there.

MORE money is to be spent on people and less on “bricks and mortar”, senior South Tyneside councillors were to be told today as £18m of budget savings were endorsed.

The local authority faces another tough 12 months of financial constraints, much of it due to a continued reduction in central government funding.

Today, the council’s decision-making cabinet was expected to endorse an £18m savings package for the next financial year.

These include selling off public buildings considered surplus to requirements and re-locating a number of staff under one roof back in South Shields Town Hall, which is undergoing a major revamp.

And a further £100,000 saving will be achieved from a review of the borough’s street lighting.

Over recent years, the council has invested in Phillips Cosmopolis technology which has made a major improvement in the energy efficiency of street lighting.

This year will see further investment in cutting edge new technology to enable dynamic remote controlling of lighting on main routes to further increase energy efficiency.

The new system, which will manage 2,400 units across the borough, will bring a significant saving while ensuring that lighting levels are maintained in line with British Standards.

Coun Ed Malcolm, the council’s lead member for resources and innovation, said: “Over the past four years we have made £90m in savings, and we face further reductions in our funding from government, but the council is determined to provide quality services and continue to invest in the borough’s future.

“Our clear commitment is to provide quality services and drive forward regeneration and economic growth.

“In the past year we have improved the use of our resources through initiatives such as modern payment methods, reduced management costs and new wildflower meadows in place of grassed areas.

“This year we are changing the way we commission services, improving energy efficiency and rationalising our buildings so that we can spend less on bricks and mortar and more on people.”

 

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