A 2.99% council tax increase and 5% cuts services are among the ways the Isle of Wight Council plans to save money in the forthcoming year.

As the local authority looks to save a further £5.5 million, it has this afternoon (Wednesday), released details on how it plans to achieve that.

The council says the proposed 2.99% council tax increase would cover the current level of inflation.

Meanwhile it plans to make 95% of the savings through what it calls ‘efficiencies and income generation’, and the other 5% from cuts to services.

Expanding parking charges – specifically to street and overnight parking -, revisions to the school bus contract and re-configuring its learning disability residential homes are among the proposed cash-saving plans.

The Council is proposing that savings could also come from:

  • Savings on the highways PFI agreement relating to changes in the specification, that has been previously reported and will be in the region of £ 1million.
  • Benefitting from our previous investments in leisure centres which has meant higher levels of demand and therefore more income that originally anticipated.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Dave Stewart said:

“Just like all councils across the country, this council will have to make financial savings in the next financial year and this will be a challenge.

“The administration is not fighting shy of what this means and that tough choices will have to be made, but we have also an opportunity to be innovative and spend some money to make our services more responsive to need and efficient for the future with the use of technology, for example.”

Cllr Stewart is asking other political parties to come forward with ideas to help balance the books but says using the council’s reserves is not an option.

He added:

“We want other political parties to give their views and we will listen to them because we’d like to have a joint approach for the good of the Island, and especially those who are vulnerable.

“It must also be stressed this council is now on a much firmer financial footing than it was two years ago. Many people will have heard about other councils, such as Northamptonshire County Council having severe financial difficulties. I can assure residents this council is not in that position.

“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that our medium-term financial strategy still requires a further £11 million of savings even when next year’s budget is agreed and the council must be mindful of this.”