RESIDENTS have been warned the council’s investments alone will not be able to protect the town from ‘heartbreaking’ cuts.

During the cabinet meeting at the Town Hall on Monday, members were told that overall savings and cuts required in 2020-21 are currently estimated at £24.8 million.

Savings currently identified amount to £6 million, which leaves £18.8 million of savings still to be found to balance the council’s budget.

Proposals are being put forward for consideration and will be subjected to formal consultation.

Deputy leader Cllr Cathy Mitchell, portfolio holder for corporate resources, confirmed the annual amount of revenue generated from the council’s investments totals in the region of £20 million.

But she said investments don’t ‘completely solve the problem’.

She said: “We still have to make cuts, many of them heartbreaking.

“But we would have to cut much more if we hadn’t invested.”

Cllr Hans Mundry, portfolio holder for transportation, highways and public realm, said he realises that the approach is not something councils ‘normally do’ but insisted ‘a lot of staff’ and services would be lost if the council was not bringing in the revenue from its investments.

He said: “We invest capital which we can borrow at a low rate at this present time and then we use the revenue that we generate to subsidise the underfunding of our services.

“Had we not done this where would we have found £20 million from?”

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden also emphasised the importance of the council’s strategy.

He said: “In terms of what £20 million really means, that is the equivalent of 600 staff, for example, so imagine what impact that would have on frontline services.

“What we have done over the last eight years as an administration is drive income, which is protecting vital frontline services and keeping the show on the road as far as the council is concerned.

“I think that is absolutely the right decision.”

Furthermore, Cllr Mitchell told members the council’s income, revenue, can be used for running services, while capital can only be used for things such as buying buildings and equipment.

She added: “The council can also borrow capital very cheaply but it is against the law to use capital to fund day-to-day running costs.

“It’s really important that we are clear about the difference between revenue and capital.”