Surrey County Council sets annual savings goal in face of increasing demand for services and dwindling funding

Surrey County Council chiefs have announced they have set a goal of saving £72 million this year.

The savings goal has been set as the authority continues to face the challenges of increasing demand for services and dwindling funding.

The council has stated that reaching the annual target will propel savings for local taxpayers to £200 million in three financial years alone. It stated that that sum would be enough to pay for the council’s Operation Horizon project to overhaul more than 300 miles of Surrey roads nearly twice over.

At the start of this year, the council unveiled a document highlighting more than 50 ways it had worked to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of services. The document highlighted, among other ways it was seeking to improve its costs, savings from striking better deals, which amounted to almost £30 million in the year 2013 to 2014.

In that year, the council stated £3 million was also saved by carrying out road improvements more efficiently.

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge said: “By doing things more efficiently, and working with others as one team, we’re ensuring taxpayers’ money stretches further, while continuing to provide excellent services.”

Coun Hodge said: “Saving £200 million over three years is proof of that, and we’ll continue to find innovative ways to do more for less at a time when demand for our services, particularly adult social care and school places, is rising as funding falls.”

The authority has joined forces with emergency services, health organisations and other councils in Surrey and Sussex to transform public services through closer working. Its partnership with East Sussex County Council in various areas has been flagged up as a significant success.

It is also part of the South East 7 group of councils working to improve services and cut costs.

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