Facing the Future: a chance to shape your services and the Council budget
4 November 2021Following last week’s spending review by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking residents to give their views on spending proposals for the borough.
An online budget consultation, known as Facing the Future, opened yesterday and runs until 12 December.
Alongside residents, businesses and partners, the Council is playing an active role in the borough’s recovery following the biggest public health emergency of our lifetimes. However, its economic position remains uncertain.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council said, “Council services have a huge impact on all our lives and our futures: we spend £831m every year on everything from street care to local schools."
“Responsible choices around where we invest, what we prioritise, and how we balance the books cannot be taken lightly.”
The Council and Government provided much-needed temporary funding to support west Cheshire’s COVID-19 response to businesses, care homes, test and trace and the borough’s most vulnerable residents. It’s unlikely that Government will fund these costs longer-term.
Cllr Carol Gahan Cabinet Member for Legal and Finance said, “While we have managed the financial position carefully, longstanding pressures on adult social care, children’s services, homelessness and our economy mean we believe we face a funding gap of around £60 million over the next three years. After business rates and council tax are accounted for, and alongside existing savings proposals that we have already consulted on, the gap remains around £18 million, with a £6 million gap next year."
“Since 2010 we have faced increasing pressures on services with more people with complex needs requiring support. The funding that we receive from Government has not kept pace with this increasing demand. We have always met our financial challenges and planned ahead, although this has meant difficult decisions about our services. Overall, in cash terms we have made reductions of more than £466m."
“The Government has completed its Spending Review, which is designed to provide clarity on the public money available for the next four years. However, we won’t know in detail what this means for the Council until December. Announcements have also been made around Government funding for adult social care, however, much of this will not be available to the Council for several years. In the absence of this detail, we do not know the full extent of the budget challenge we will face, but it is likely that savings and efficiencies will need to be made and will continue to put pressures on local services which support those with the most complex needs.”
In the run up to this consultation the Council has developed new proposals, in addition to those the public has already helped them to shape, that will help meet the financial challenge. They are keen to hear the views of residents and businesses on these new proposals. All feedback will be considered by Councillors when they set the budget on 17 February 2022 and will help inform crucial decisions for the borough.
To have your say:
Telephone: 0300 123 0123 quoting ‘Facing the Future’
Write to: Council Budget, Insight and Intelligence, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Council Offices, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE
Paper copies are also available from local libraries