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Council budget 2018-19: Where would you spend the money?

18 October 2017

www.bridgend.gov.uk/future
consultation@bridgend.gov.uk 

Bridgend County Borough Council has launched its annual budget consultation to find out what services local residents want the authority to prioritise in 2018-19.

The consultation is designed to help the council deliver a balanced budget that protects essential services while reflecting the views of as many householders, groups and organisations as possible.

But the authority has warned that some services will have to bear the impact of successive years of reduced funding, and that a rise in council tax is inevitable.

Since 2012, the UK Government has greatly reduced the amount of funding provided to councils via Welsh Government.

In Bridgend County Borough, this has meant that the local authority has already had to cover a £36m drop in funding by downsizing, finding creative new ways to deliver services, reducing the frequency of some services, and cutting others altogether.

Following the recent announcement that councils will continue to receive reduced funding, the authority estimates it will need to save a further £35m over the next four years.

Council Leader Huw David said: “What this means is that by 2020, the council will have been forced to make savings of £71m within a very short period of time.

“This needs to be recognised for the massive amount that it clearly is as further cuts to valuable services are now inevitable.

“After years of having to make reductions and develop new ways of working, the council has exhausted all of the ‘easier’ options, and has reached the point where we now have to start looking at areas such as subsidised public transport, public toilet provision and more.                                                   

 “At the same time, we are supporting record numbers of vulnerable children and older people. The question we all need to ask ourselves is whether we would rather have the council continue to spend money on this, or focus on other services such as grasscutting, litter-picking or public transport instead?

“Those are the sort of harsh choices that we are faced with making, and this is why it is more important than ever for people to take part in the budget consultation.

“By telling us which services you think should be prioritised, you can help us to produce a balanced budget that accurately reflects the views of the people of Bridgend County Borough.”

Deputy Leader Hywel Williams added: ”Welsh Government has indicated that the amount of money local councils will receive to provide services is going to decrease next year by 0.5 per cent, and then by a further 1.5 per cent in 2019-20.

“But early estimations also suggest that the cost of providing social services for local people is set to double over the next decade or so.

“There is simply no way to achieve this level of savings without having an impact that everyone will feel to some degree, but whether it is by working in partnership, transferring assets or setting up not-for-profit trusts to run some of our services, we are already making every effort to find creative or innovative solutions.

“We all need to take a serious look at the implications that such stark choices are forcing us to face, and I hope people will help us to do this by completing the budget consultation.”

Residents can fill in the consultation questionnaire online at www.bridgend.gov.uk/future or request a hard copy by visiting libraries, emailing consultation@bridgend.gov.uk or calling 01656 643664. Alternative formats are available on request.

Everyone who completes the questionnaire will be entered into a draw to win opening night family panto tickets at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion, and a year’s free membership with Halo Leisure.

Last Updated: 18/10/2017
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