23/12/2015 - Permalink

Have your say on Shropshire’s budget consultation

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Now in the final year of its current three-year Medium Term Financial Plan, Shropshire Council is seeking the views of residents and organisations on its budget for 2016/17.

In addition to the wider aspirations of the Big Conversation, the council needs to consider and set our budget for the next financial year (2016/17), which runs from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. To do this, each year the council undertakes formal consultation on the budget proposals that are being put forward.

The budget consultation provides local people and organisations with the opportunity to tell the council what they think about the specific saving proposals outlined in the Financial Strategy for 2016/17, and about anything the council may not have already considered in its impact assessments.

The £23.1m saving proposals outlined in the budget consultation represent the final steps in delivering the council’s current three-year financial plan. Many of these proposals were set out three years ago, and have been refined as a result of further consideration and feedback from the Big Conversation. Responses to the consultation will directly inform the council’s final budget proposals for 2016/17.

Saving proposals include:

  • Adult services £5.2m
  • Children’s services £3.8m
  • Commissioning £6.3m
  • Public health £0.6m
  • Resources and support £2.0m
  • Corporate £5.1m

Adult services was tasked with delivering £16.2m of savings over two years. Proposals for £5.2m have been taken forward as part of this consultation, with the remainder being delivered through a combination of cuts in other services areas, and increased resources through council tax.

David Turner, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for resources, finance and support, said:

“As a result of substantial Government funding reductions, we need to significantly reduce our budget and make unprecedented changes to our services.

“Over the next five years Shropshire Council is facing a budget shortfall of around £77m. Putting it simply, our income has fallen due to Government cuts, whilst demand for our vital services that protect some of our most vulnerable has increased.

“We’ve identified some proposed savings for next year and we’re currently running this short survey, separate to the Big Conversation, which details the areas where we’ve identified savings and the level of savings we feel could be achieved.

“Please take a few minutes to find out more about these proposed savings, and let us know whether you agree with them or not.”

Claire Wild, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for the Big Conversation, added:

“We have already delivered significant savings of £146m, which makes the task facing us even more difficult. The reality is that we will not be able to provide all of the services, or the same levels of service, that we have done in the past. That’s why it’s so important that everyone has their say on setting our budget, as well as the Big Conversation.

“We’ve had a great response to our Big Conversation so far, and I’d like to thank those who have got involved and told us what services matter to them. Although the Big Conversation will continue over the next five years, please take a little time to tell us what you think.”

To get involved in the budget consultation click here, or visit Shropshire Council’s ‘get involved’ pages. The deadline for responses is 31 January 2016.

You can still take part in the Big Conversation. Watch the video now and take part in the survey before Monday 4 January 2016.

Further information

Shropshire’s Big Conversation explains and considers the impact of ongoing funding reduction on Shropshire Council and the services it currently delivers. Ultimately this involves the removal of all central government funding, and the movement to a self-sustaining financial model whereby our services are delivered only within the funds that can be generated locally.

On Wednesday 28 October 2015, Shropshire Council presented its Financial Strategy for 2016/17 – 2020/21. The financial strategy identified that savings of £32.8m are required to balance the books in 2016/17. The council has currently identified savings proposals of £23.1m, and the remaining balance will be managed in-year by the use of one-off resources.

Any feedback received between 30 January 2016 and 9 February 2016 will be provided to Cabinet which sits on 10 February 2016, and will be considered before the final Financial Strategy and Budget 2016/17 Report is approved by Full Council on 25 February 2016.

It will still be possible to comment on proposals after this closing date above; for example, by attending relevant council meetings.