AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInAt the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council next week (Thursday 17 December), Councillors will be provided with an update on the Council’s Financial Strategy, with a stark warning to prepare to make savings of over £20 m during the forthcoming financial year.The Scottish Government will be announcing details of its budget for financial year 2016/17 and also provide details of the grant settlement for individual councils on 16 December.Indications are that the level of funding being made available to councils will be significantly reduced, beyond the level that was predicted. This will require a significant level of further savings to be identified.At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillors will be provided with details of the financial settlement for our council and the exact level of savings our council will have to achieve during 2016/17. However, current estimates in the report suggest the savings target could range from a 4% cut in the council’s grant form the Scottish Government which would require £19.723m of savings to a 6% reduction, which would require £22.655m of savings.While operational efficiencies and savings are being maximised by the departments, it is readily apparent that the savings levels required cannot be achieved without reductions in services. Budgets will have to be reviewed and support will be provided to Councillors as they consider which areas of activity could be reduced in a manner which minimises the impact on the achievement of the Council’s Priorities.Following extensive consultation on our budget last year, this Council set a three year budget. This included our policy intentions for the next three years which were aligned to our Council Priorities.Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said “Whilst the exact extent of the funding reductions won’t be confirmed until the details of the settlement have been issued by the Scottish Government, we know that councils will have to find significant further savings beyond the levels that any council in Scotland ever imagined. It is clear that this will be the single biggest cut in council funding in a generation.This will be exceptionally challenging for our council. We have already identified £40 million of savings over the past four years so the numbers of options are running out. The debate is now no longer about how you trim services and make them efficient. It is now about what services you simply have to stop providing. There is now doubt that difficult decisions lie ahead. I know that local people understand that the cuts our Council faces are not of our making and, as we take those tough budget decisions, it means that we won’t be able to provide some of our Council’s existing services. But when we do make those decisions we will remain focused on as far as possible protecting the most vulnerable in our communities”.