This is an archived press release
Friday 25 June 2010
25 June 2010
National park budget cut by 5 per cent
A revised budget has been set by the Peak District National Park Authority after its funding was reduced by five per cent.
The Authority has been told by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that its existing grant to run public services in the national park during 2010/11 will now be cut by £426,253 to £8.29 million as part of the efforts to reduce the national budget deficit.
Members of the Authority set a new budget which seeks to protect frontline services as much as possible.
The savings will be made by:
- Putting less money into reserves for future maintenance of car parks, visitor centres and other facilitiesDeferring some planned projects that are not priorities for investment
- Reducing staffing in lower priority work areas, including some voluntarily agreed redundancies, and revising the budget to reflect a lower than expected pay rise or likely pay freeze
- Continuing efficiency savings, such as reducing travel allowances and business travel
- Reducing energy use, cutting both costs and carbon footprint.
Under the Authority’s present plans the loss of posts will be entirely through voluntary redundancy or natural wastage.
Narendra Bajaria, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact on frontline services.
“We have always had a culture of providing value for money services so through careful financial management we are able to cushion some of the impact.
“However, the national park authority is already a lean organisation so it is difficult to make savings of this scale without any impact on jobs and projects to enhance the national park.
“We are in detailed talks with staff directly affected by the new budget and have also kept union and staff committee representatives fully informed.”
Further cuts in costs and services will need to be planned for next year. These will be decided later this year alongside any further cuts made reflecting the Government's priority of reducing public spending overall.
The authority has committed to looking for future savings by:
- Continuing existing work with other national park authorities and local authorities to find possible savings from shared services or procurement
- Considering offering voluntary redundancy or reduced working hours to other staff
- Only filling the most crucial frontline posts if vacancies arise
- Reviewing all existing contracts to see whether they should continue or not.
The £200,000 funding for the Sustainable Development Fund, which gives grants to community groups or businesses for projects that benefit the national park and local residents, has been protected from the five per cent budget reduction.