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National Park plans to address further budget reductions

This is an archived press release

Friday 5 December 2014

More savings and increased income are to be made by the Peak District National Park Authority to cope with an expected further decrease in its budget.

Since 2010 the national park's budget has been cut in real terms by 36.5 per cent – a drop of £3.5 million.

At the Authority's December meeting members of the authority agreed to plans to achieve £342,000 of permanent savings. This included a combination of budget reductions and increasing income. Also, £42,000 will be re-prioritised to increase opportunities for people to engage more deeply with the national park by giving time and money and through sponsorship opportunities.

Councillor Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "These are tough times and we are being realistic in dealing with the reductions and balancing the books. We continue to make efficiency savings and increase our income where we can."

The authority is developing a new corporate strategy that makes our assets work harder to achieve its objectives, reducing costs where possible and generating more money. It is also considering introducing charging for some services, developing products and events.

Reductions in staffing continue but are being managed without compulsory redundancies as a result of vacancies or voluntary measures.

Cllr Roberts said: "It's not all bad news – we are exploring different ways of bringing in money.  As well as increasing opportunities for people to give and sponsor our work we continue to work with partner organisations and look for external funding. The Heritage Lottery Fund's support for the Landscapes at a Crossroads project, which has £2.5 million earmarked for conservation in the South-West Peak, is a massive help towards  safeguarding the national park and ensuring we can continue to promote its enjoyment.

"Our approach is to take stock and build on what we have achieved so far. We are in a transition period and have to constantly review our financial situation as we receive new information so things cannot be set in stone. In 2015 we will have a new chief executive and corporate strategy, and the general election in May will have an impact on public finances."

All ten English national park authorities are managing the same budget reductions. An announcement from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the National Park Grant settlement is expected before Christmas. The Authority's final budget for 2015-16 will be set at a meeting in February.

This is an archived press release

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