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Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010
Facing the cuts after recession
Facing The Cuts
Looking at the after effects of the recession in Dorset

Although Britain's recession is technically over, with a 0.1 growth in the economy reported in January 2010, the after effects are to continue.

Pressure is increasing on public services as local authorities try to make savings ahead of expected further funding cuts from central government.

Here in Dorset, this has meant that council tax rises for 2010 - 2011 are higher than the national average.

But more "efficiency savings" will still need to be made.

'Unprecedented financial pressures'

Cllr John Beesley, Cabinet Member for Resources for Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "We are facing unprecedented financial pressures."

Bournemouth's council tax is increasing by 2.9% for 2010/2011 but the unitary authority is expecting further funding cuts:

"Our duty is to agree a budget that is sustainable, particularly that we expect significant reductions in the government grant in the future, and demand on our statutory services to rise."

Elsewhere in the county, the Poole Borough council tax increase is also 2.9%, and Dorset County Council is rising its council tax bill by 2.97%.

Districts

Purbeck District Council have agreed a 2.75% rise and North Dorset District Council 2.9%.

Weymouth and Portland residents face a 2% increase, Christchurch 2.95%, while West Dorset District Council have the lowest increase of only 1%.

The council tax bills in Dorset outside of Bournemouth and Poole include an amount set by a district or borough council, and a component set by the county council. Charges for police and the fire service are also included.

In a national report by the Local Government Authority (LGA) into council tax rises across England for 2010/2011, they predicted an average rise of only 1.6%.

The LGA surveyed the draft budgets of more than 100 councils, police and fire authorities to come up with its figures.

The average increase for the South West region as a whole is 2.5%, but many of the council tax rises in Dorset are still the lowest seen for many years.

Balancing act

For all of Dorset's authorities, deciding the level of council tax increase has been about finding a balance, as Cllr Brian Leverett, Leader of the Council for the Borough of Poole, explained:

"We are committed to keeping council tax as low as it practically can be without having an adverse impact on local services."

As central government review their funding that local authorities will receive from April 2011, and demand on key local government services increase - as a result of the recession - it is likely the financial pressures will continue for some time to come.

BBC Radio Solent will be looking for your own experiences of the after effects of the recession in a special debate. Where would you cut your council's budget? What council cuts are affecting you?




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