New ideas fund mooted for Worcester

Worcester City Council is to consider setting up a new “research and development”-style fund to investigate ideas for generating income – and potentially keep Council Tax bills down in future years.
With Government funding for all councils being reduced over the next three years, Worcester City is looking at getting on the front foot to find new ways to support the funding of vital services like bin collections and planning.
Setting up the new Small Projects Development Fund would allow detailed investigation and feasibility studies to be carried out, to establish if money-making ideas from councillors would be successful.
The initiative will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday January 17 as part of the process for setting the budget for the 2017/18 financial year.
Councillor Joy Squires, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Performance and Resources, said: “With the amount of funding we receive from Government going down we need to get smarter about how we manage the City Council’s finances. This new fund will be like a research and development budget, allowing us to look in detail at ideas that might be a new source of income and see if they will work.”
If approved, the Council would divert half of any excess income it has received at the end of the current financial year on March 31 into the new Small Projects Development Fund.
Councillors would be asked to suggest their ideas for how the Council can increase its income and the ones most likely to help achieve the aims of the new cross-party City Plan would be awarded up to £30,000 from the Fund to be investigated further.
The budget proposals are currently being examined by the Council’s Performance Management and Budget Scrutiny Committee. The final budget is due to be agreed by the full Council on February 21.

Sarah Dawes