St Helens Labour leaders have set out their determination to change the way the Council works, to make the most of every opportunity, and generate new income without hitting residents in the pocket.
Councillor Martin Bond, Cabinet Member for Finance, attended Monday’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting to discuss the budget scrutiny work that’s been undertaken, and the challenges of filling a £10m budget gap for 2020-21.
Martin says: “It’s not just about finding savings – it’s about generating revenue as well. We can’t simply continue to cut budgets, and have to start seriously looking at new and sustainable ways of generating income.”
Council Leader David Baines says: “As councils are forced to rely less and less on central government funding, it’s only right we look at new ways of generating income which we can use to continue to provide quality services.
Many councils are ahead of us in doing this, but since coming into post last May, myself and Cllr Martin Bond and my whole Cabinet, have made this a priority.
The new management structure we’ve introduced will create a dedicated Assistant Director for Commercial Activity role, and every cabinet member and their department are working to develop proposals for generating income and making the most of every opportunity.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean charging residents for services – rather, we’re talking about things like using advertising on roundabouts to pay for improved maintenance of those sites, LED screens for advertising local businesses and promoting St Helens events on major routes into the borough like you see going into Salford or Liverpool, as well as making larger investments in order to generate returns which we can invest in services.”