Money saved the year before committee system

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Hartlepool Borough Council has to reduce spending by £25m per year by 2017.

That is a huge sum, and councillors and officers will have to make some very difficult decisions over the next four years.

Mayor Drummond pointed out in his weekly column (Mail, April 10) that £55,603 was saved in 2012 by reducing the number of councillors from 47 to 33, and by reducing spending on special responsibility allowances.

He also said that the change to a committee system when the mayoral system comes to its end next month will mean that the £55,603 per year saving which has already been achieved will have to be increased to £120,000 per year by April next year.

Mayor Drummond said that councillors might try to claim that the change from a mayoral system to a committee system had saved the full £120,000 a year, even though almost half that figure was saved in the year before the committee system came into operation.

A fair point, but a saving of £120,000 a year pales into insignificance when compared with the problem of reducing spending by £25m per year by 2017.

In fact it only represents 0.5 per cent of the sum that has to be saved by that time.

Claiming the credit for saving £120,000 a year won’t impress the hard-pressed voters when the next council elections take place.

Jim Allan,

Hartlepool.