Taxpayers hope to be quids in with new deals

ISLE taxpayers are set to benefit from £1.1 million of savings after council bosses signed new deals for businesses to supply its gas and insurance.

North Lincolnshire Council has signed two contracts that are estimated to save more than £1 million over a four-year period as part of a scheme to drive down operational costs.

British Gas Centrica has been awarded a contract to supply the local authority’s gas, while Zurich Municipal and Charitis will provide the council’s insurance.

The four-year gas contract, which begins in June 2013, will see a saving on the management fee of £200,000 over the four year life of the contract.

The three-year insurance deal started this Monday and the council hopes it will lead to annual savings of up to £300,000.

Councillor Neil Poole, cabinet member for policy and resources, stressed that the council was determined to minimise costs for the taxpayer where possible.

He said: “When elected we made it our vow to reduce administrative costs for the hard-pressed council taxpayer.

“With the help of our officers, we continue to deliver on that promise. The price of natural gas has risen some 200 per cent over the last ten years.

“It really is good news that at a time of rising prices, we are not only buying it cheaper, but we also have plans to use less.”

He added: “Renegotiating the council insurance contract has seen us capture a 24 per cent saving on last year’s premium.

“These two contracts have produced over £1 million in savings for local residents.

“We use purchasing frameworks with other organisations to effectively pool our buying power.

“That ensures we get the best prices. We must never forget its local residents that pay the bills.”

The gas contract has been awarded following a tender exercise led by the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) for the supply of natural gas. The council is one of 89 organisations across the UK that YPO procure gas for.

The deal is estimated at £4.3 million over the life of the contract. It is estimated the council will consume some 151m kWh over this period. The council consumption equates to roughly the equivalent of over 3,400 average UK homes a year.

The contract will cover the supply of gas to some schools.

The annual insurance premium has reduced from £1.3 million to £1 million.