MORE belt-tightening is on the way at the Lake District National Park Authority.
New figures show it expects to make savings of more than £1 million over the first four years of the coming decade – despite the ‘end to austerity’.
That is on top of a separate savings programme already underway which aims to find £752,000 over the same period.
Altogether, it would mean £1.7 million of savings between 2020-24, although park officials have said the figures are ‘manageable’.
Kerry Powell, director of communications and resources, told a committee meeting in Kendal the sums were ‘well within’ the authority’s control.
Despite a general election next month, the park is not banking on any increase in Government grants, irrespective of which party makes it to Number 10.
It has assumed its annual grant from Defra will remain frozen at around £5.9 million a year until 2023-24, according to its medium-term forecasts.
The core grant has fallen considerably in recent years with it being set as high as £7 million in 2010-11, before the incoming Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition cut public spending.
Ms Powell told the resources committee: “We don’t yet know what the national park grant settlement will be but our headline assumption is that it will be flat (increase).”
The LDNPA has drawn-up alternative models to see what would happen if the grant is reduced from £5.9 million or increased.
The park also plans to bring its reserves back up to the £1 million mark from £745,000 and expects commercial income to grow over the coming years.
It is expected salaries will rise two per cent every year between 2020-24 with a one per cent rise adding around £50,000 to the wage bill.
Park member Mark Kidd said a three percent pay rise could represent a ‘big hit’ on the wage bill.
The figures were discussed are part of the authority’s medium-term financial strategy.
National park member Chris Hogg said he was pleased action was being taken to reorganise reserves, while member Jim Bland welcomed the ‘comprehensive’ report into its financial position.