Peterborough City Council chief executive worries about loss of government funding

Gillian Beasley at the Peterborough Young People's Film Awards 2012 ENGEMN00120121007212038
Gillian Beasley at the Peterborough Young People's Film Awards 2012 ENGEMN00120121007212038
Have your say

The loss of government funding is concerning the chief executive of Peterborough City Council.

Gillian Beasley admits the council’s focus will now be on growing its own revenue in time for 2020 when it expects to lose all of its central government grant.

Instead, finances will be raised through business rates, although Mrs Beasley said councils are still waiting to find out further details from the Government.

The council chief executive said: “The really big agenda is when we lose our funding from government in 2020 and move to business rates funding.

“How do councils become more business-like, commercial and self-sufficient? That’s going to be a big focus.

“The real issue for us is loss of money and an increase in demand. Keeping our services going has to be absolutely vital.

“We need to support those who are vulnerable.

“In a world since 2009 that’s had austerity, any chief executive is going to be worried, but you can sit and worry forever and not do anything.

“What good councils do is think ‘what can we do?’

“We are concerned but it’s a challenge, and the local authorities that are not going to survive are the ones that stick their heads in the sand hoping it’s going to go away.

“The financial challenge is still very difficult and we should not underestimate it. People have lost their jobs as a result, but that’s made me more determined.”

The ambitions going forward for Mrs Beasley are to look after the most vulnerable, provide good jobs for young people and make sure businesses thrive,

And she thinks “broadening the horizons” of city council officers by allowing them to work closer with colleagues at Cambridgeshire County Council, where she is also chief executive, might encourage them to stay.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to keep good people,” she added.

Mrs Beasley also said she got on well with city council leader Cllr John Holdich, adding: “A chief executive and leader always have to have a good relationship, and with all the leaders I’ve had I’ve always enjoyed a good relationship.”