Slough Council not making £20m saving poses a “red flag”

A DEBT-RIDDEN council not achieving its £20m savings this year poses a “red flag,” a senior councilor said.

Slough Borough Council (SBC) has only made 78 per cent, or £15.5m, of its savings target of £19.9m for the 2022/23 budget.

The local authority needs to make about £20m annual savings for the next seven years in conjunction with its major £600m asset disposal program to reduce its £760m debt and £479m blackhole.

However, new assumptions from SBC’s top finance team show these savings may change to around £14m from 2024/25 and up to £9m from 2030.

READ MORE: Slough Council’s £782m bailout halves

Speaking at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), lead member for financial oversight, said it does “raise a red flag” that SBC has not yet achieved this year’s savings target where “robust and quicker” decisions are needed so it doesn’t feed into future budgets.

Royal Borough Observer: Cllr Dexter SmithCllr Dexter Smith

But Conservative leader Dexter Smith (Colnbrook with Poyle) raised concern about the council not hitting its target and believed it was spreading its savings plan further than its seven-year plan.

At Thursday’s full council meeting, he said: “They [the savings] may be reduced for some of the years in this decade but not for all of them.”

“I think it’s premature to say that everything is sewn up and deliverable,” he added.

READ MORE: Slough: Fears raised council’s finances will remain dire

Deputy leader Pavitar Kaur Mann (Lab: Britwell & Northborough) said SBC is only six months in the financial year where senior councilors will work with their individual directorates to deliver their respective budgets.

She added that they are on track to deliver a balanced budget this year.

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