vulnerable, the meeting was told. Cabinet Member Warren Whyte said it was vital the public understood what the council was doing in charging for extended optional services to enhance other key services.
He told the meeting: “I wouldn’t want residents to think that this council wants to charge for everything because it can. It charges for certain things because they are optional or discretionary services to support the statutory services that we must deliver.”
One example of the new policy is the council’s plans to borrow money to buy Liscombe Park, an equestrian centre between Soulbury and Wing. The Cabinet agreed in principle on Monday to borrow up to £1.7million to secure the purchase. The idea is that a net profit of around £32,000 per year will be generated from this because the rental income is £119,000 per year and there is a secure tenant on site. The council already brings in extra money by charging on some services, but this policy will look to encourage far more income generation.
Mr Tett, who told how the council needed to save £53million over the next four years, stressed the authority was ‘desperately short’ of day-to-day money to employ people for services. He added: “As Government funding to the council decreases very rapidly in the next four years, we need to find alternative sources of income that will come in year after year after year after year which we can use to pay staff and provide those desperately-needed services to residents, and that’s what this is about.”
Mr Tett said the council was sometimes accused of ‘penny-pinching’, but the reality was, it was the same pound generated in income that could be spent on protecting a vulnerable child or helping an elderly adult.