Give your views on decisions needed to close Council’s £19m budget gap

Plymouth residents are being asked to give their views about the City Council’s plans to address a £19 million shortfall in its budget for next year.

The Council is running a three-week engagement exercise that includes an online survey asking people for their views on a range of proposals.

They include raising income through growing Plymouth’s economy, reviewing fees and charges and introducing a new plan for dealing with the city’s rubbish and recycling.

The plans also include continuing to integrate health and social care services with NHS partners and investing in preventative measures to reduce the numbers of people needing complex care packages.

Health, social care and housing support services account for around 64 per cent of the Council’s total budget.

Like most other local authorities, Plymouth City Council has seen as significant reduction in its grant funding over the last few years at the same time as demand for social care services has increased and costs have risen.

The Council has saved £65 million over the last few years and is projecting it needs to save a further £37 million over next three years in order to be able to set a budget to deliver more than 300 local services.

The Big Decisions survey asks people to give their views on as many or few of the proposals as they wish. Paper copies can also be picked up at local libraries and at the 1st Stop Shop in New George Street.

Councillor Ian Darcy, Cabinet member for Finance, said: “We are committed to listening to the views of Plymouth residents about the decisions that we need to make to balance the books and set a budget for local services.

“This is more important than ever as the financial position the Council is facing is serious. To set a budget for the next year alone we need to identify more than £19 million worth of savings. We have to make big decisions now or we’ll end up in a crisis position where services will just have to be cut.

“We have proposals for closing the gap but we want to hear the views of Plymouth residents before we decide. It is only fair and right that people have their say in some of the choices we have to make in the effort to avoid wholesale cuts to local services.

“The decisions are difficult but they have to be made. If we don’t make them in one area then we’ll need to find them in another. All choices and decisions have consequences but doing nothing is not an option.

“We also want to hear ideas from Plymouth residents about the sorts of things they think we should do to balance its books next year and in the future.

“All feedback will be fully considered before we make the final decisions in December.”

People can give their views by visiting before 12 September 2016 or filling in a paper copy.