Forest Heath residents must ‘play their part’ as council prepares for £1.1m cuts

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Forest Heath’s residents are being encouraged to be more ‘self-reliant’ as the district council prepares to make £1.1 million of cuts next year.

Over the past two years the council has had its central Government grant slashed by 49 per cent.

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Newmarket Journal OCTOBER 2012''Stephen Edwards ENGANL00120120510163730

Leader of Forest Heath District Council, James Waters, said: “We’re squeezing every penny we can and always looking to sec ure a stronger future for Forest Heath but everyone has a part to play,” he said.

“That’s why we’re encouraging communities to be more self-reliant. Here in West Suffolk we are leading the way for doing things with people.”

Cllr Stephen Edwards, cabinet member for resources, admitted there were ‘huge challenges ahead’.

“We have a responsibility to work differently, behave more commercially, build partnerships and cut demand for our services,” he said.

“But we’re still doing a tremendous amount to make life better for our residents and businesses.”

Planned savings include £200,000 from reductions in and changes to Housing Benefit payment assumptions and £70,000 from a review of grants and contributions.

A shared services scheme with St Edmundsbury Borough Council is estimated to have saved £3 million.

The council also hopes to make £42,000 from generating solar power and plans to freeze council tax in 2015/16.

The proposals are due to be discussed by the council’s cabinet next Tuesday.