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Flintshire County Council makes ‘ambitious’ plans to save £10m

‘AMBITIOUS’ plans to make more than £10m of savings next year are being put in place by Flintshire County Council after the Welsh Assembly Government’s (WAG’s) Provisional Local Government Settlement was announced on Tuesday.

But council chief executive Colin Everett said the settlement of £185m, 1.7% less than last year’s, was better than predicted.

And he welcomed the decision to continue funding for breakfast clubs in schools.

Minister for Local Government and Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant, who announced the settlement, said more cash would go to schools and social services over the next three years.

Mr Everett said: “With the introduction of a ‘floor’ of a 1.7% maximum reduction in block revenue grant from WAG for any one council - our financial position for 2011/12 is better than predicted as we will receive some protection.

“Nonetheless, Flintshire will still have to find efficiencies and savings upwards of £10m for next year and our plans to make up this gap continue.

“Our plans for changing the way we are organised and manage ourselves as a social business are ambitious – they need to be given that this annual budget challenge will recur for some years.”

He added: “We are delighted that funding for breakfast clubs in schools will be continued as a policy priority.”

Mr Everett defended the council’s decision to open a statutory consultation period for employees of services funded by specific grants, such as breakfast clubs, before it was clear whether funding for them would continue.

He said the measure had been a precautionary step, but warned that speculation was not yet over for all grants.