A Bedfordshire newspaper recently reported that Bedford Borough Council has embarked on a cost cutting scheme. The scheme’s target is to reduce £36 million from it’s budget.

All well and good you say. That will mean a reduction in Domestic and Non-domestic rates, surely?

What many business owners in Bedford are raising a red flag to is the way the council have hinted towards making the budget reductions – an increase in car parking charges in Bedford town centre. Although this is not a cost cutting strategy as it is in fact a revenue increasing strategy, the plans would see the already expensive car parking through Bedford town increase by a yet to be disclosed amount which will affect the footfall through the town and penalise those that do business or are employed by a business within Bedford.

We are local to Bedford and always wonder why local councils throughout the UK increase spend from companies and visitors rather than actually looking at their own operational costs. Increasing expenditure for the companies and individuals in a town always has an adverse affect on a town’s overall revenue – the companies and individuals generally go elsewhere.

Although we haven’t seen the exact breakdown of the council’s expenses, we are sure there are better ways to improve the bottom line without penalising the businesses in Bedford and the visitors to the town. One idea that springs to mind (and we are pretty sure this is across the board for all councils) is the constant maintenance works that steadily creep through Bedford, whether it be road, landscaping or general building maintenance. Hire the services of good, trustworthy companies; those companies that will perform the work ASAP in comparison to those that massage the time taken for their own benefit. This could be an issue with the tendering process – is it possible that a company, no matter how large or small it is, could provide a better service but can never win the tender?

The media is always reporting on overly paid consultants charging £2K-£3K per day for their services whether they are working with councils, the NHS or other public sector organisation. Isn’t it time that this is addressed by way of an independent 3rd party, made public and rectified if the findings are correct?



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