THE recession might officially be over but people living in South Gloucestershire are being warned the worst is yet to come.

South Gloucestershire Council’s financial director warned the authority’s leaders this week that it will have to tighten its belts as it faces significant funding cuts from government.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Monday Ian Webster, chief financial officer, said: "The longer term outlook is not good, as a whole, not just with South Gloucestershire.

"We will see a real deduction in cash from the government. The outlook for 2010/11 is much more certain but beyond that I am forced to take a much more pessimistic look toward public finances.

"We will lose one and a half percent a year from our government support. Some commentators fear worse. We won’t know until the autumn."

South Gloucestershire Council has already been told by the Department for Transport that the authority’s funding for the concessionary travel scheme, which provides free bus travel for older residents, will be cut by £390,000.

This figure is £50,000 worse than first thought and means the council will have to pay £1.5 million toward the scheme.

Mr Webster also told members that the local authority was unlikely to benefit from the Building Schools for the Future funding next year, which is money from government to help build new secondary schools.

Officers in the Children and Young Persons (CYP) Department are also feeling the pinch.

Education bosses have decided to prioritise just three areas for funding next year. These include the transfer of the Hearing Impaired Resource Base from Rodford School to Kings Court Primary School in Yate, increasing primary places in the Kingswood and Mangotsfield areas, and repair work at schools in the district.

The department did admit that even the repair work has had to be prioritised, with just five projects earmarked for completion across the district.

Clare Medland, from the CYP department, said: "We must wait for the allocation of additional capital funds for 2011/12 onwards until we approve any more major capital schemes."

Opposition councillors did raise concerns about including savings in the authority’s budget that may be achieved through the 300 jobs cuts planned for the next three years.

The council has said it will conduct service reviews to reduce its workforce by 317 posts and introduce a new IT system to improve efficiency.

Councillors are claiming too much is dependent on the new IT system.

Cllr Ruth Davis, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: "When you include a saving element you can’t guarantee and then the budget doesn’t balance, something will have to be cut."