Welwyn Hatfield Council reviews financial strategy

INCREASED parking charges and other fees could be introduced as early as January, as Welwyn Hatfield Council looks to bolster its coffers in the wake of drastic public spending cuts.

Following the announcement that the council had been forced to cut �1.7m out of the 2011/2012 budget, as revealed by the Welwyn Hatfield Times, councillors have reviewed the borough’s medium term financial strategy up to 2015/16 and come up with a set of principles for next year.

The council has agreed not to allow additional departmental growth unless approved by cabinet and to review the council’s reserves and balances policy, to ensure the budget is fit for purpose.

It also resolved to improve incomes generated through fees and charges, meaning increases to charges the council controls, such as car parking, could be introduced in January, in line with VAT increases.

A council spokeswoman said: “In order to ensure progress can be made at the pace required to deliver the financial challenge, the council will be reviewing the fees and charges over which it has direct control, and in line with the VAT increase that is due in January 2011; this includes car parking charges.”

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Deputy council leader Alan Franey said: “Regrettably, throughout the year the interest rates have continued at a very low position, this coupled with the inability to increase Council Tax and reductions in government grants mean that there is a need to find increased savings within our expenditure.”

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