Wiltshire Council makes more changes to its own set up to cut costs

Wiltshire Council makes more changes to its own set up to cut costs

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 12:40pm 1st July 2020. (Updated at 12:46pm 1st July 2020)

4 minute read

The local authority has reduced the number of Cabinet members and the number of Portfolio Holders in a bid to save money.

Wiltshire Council has already saved around £225,000 after reducing the number of chief executives from two to one, now Leader Councillor Philip Whitehead has made additional changes to the local authority's principal decision making body.

The number of Cabinet members has reduced from nine to eight with some seeing changes to their responsibilities.

Meanwhile the number of Portfolio Holders, who support Cabinet members but don't have decision making powers, has been slashed from 14 to 10.

Councillor Atil Hoque, who represents the Salisbury St Edmund and Milford ward, was one of those to step down as a Portfolio Holder.

His responsibilities for Heritage, Arts and Tourism have now been combined with Corporate Services, Housing and Communities and given to another local councillor, Richard Clewer who represents the Downton and Eble ward.

15% SAVING

Cllr Philip Whitehead said: 

"The Cabinet and Portfolio Holders are essential to the democratic functions of the council, but we have made these changes to make the administration more efficient, and better placed to help us tackle the challenges faced by COVID-19 and the subsequent recovery.

"These changes also represent a 15% saving in the costs of running the administration, which is prudent given the financial challenges we face because of the COVID-19 pandemic."

CASH STRAPPED COUNCIL

Wiltshire Council has previously warned its facing a £50m shortfall even taking into account the £29m given from the government.

Covid 19 has put pressure on the local authority, it's lost income from car parks when charges were suspended for more than two months and leisure facilities like Five Rivers in Salisbury which remain closed.

At the same time Wiltshire Council has had to spend more money helping people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Maltings car park
Parking charges were scrapped for more than two months meaning the Council lost vital income.

There were fears Wiltshire Council could face bankruptcy, although earlier this week leader Philip Whitehead said he's confident that won't happen

FOCUS ON A303

With the chancellor promising earlier this year that  the Stonehenge road tunnel scheme will go ahead the A303 has now been specified as part of Councillor Bridget Wayman's cabinet role.

The secretary of state is expected to give a final decision on July 17th.

Highways England A303 Stonehenge Tunnel February 2018 4 (Highways England)
With plans for the Stonehenge tunnel project back in the spotlight the A303 has been added to one Portfolio Holder role.

The full list of appointments is as follows:

    • Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Military Civilian Integration (MCI) and Communications.
    • Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Heritage, Arts and Tourism, Housing, and Communities.
    • Cllr Pauline Church, Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, and Commercial investment.
    • Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills.
    • Cllr Simon Jacobs, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection.
    • Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property.
    • Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for ICT, Digitalisation, Operational Assets, Leisure and Libraries.
    • Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport, Waste and A303.
    • Cllr Chris Williams, Portfolio Holder for MCI, Communications, AONB, ESIF and Canals.     
    • Cllr Ashley O'Neil, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change.
    • Cllr Allison Bucknell, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Arts, Heritage and Tourism.
    • Cllr Jane Davies, Portfolio Holder for Education and SEND.
    • Cllr Peter Hutton, Portfolio Holder for Children's Safeguarding.
    • Cllr Phil Alford, Portfolio Holder for Whole Life Pathway. 
    • Cllr Ben Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Public Protection.          
    • Cllr Jerry Kunkler, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Sport.
    • Cllr Sven Hocking, Portfolio Holder for Highways and Streetscene.
    • Cllr Robert Yuill, Portfolio Holder for Waste.
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