Have your say on Cabinet’s budget proposals
Residents are being urged to have their say on a range of budget proposals put forward by Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet.
The Cabinet is looking to make the council a smaller organisation which focuses on protecting front-line services. This is to help close the funding gap, which is estimated to be £2 million by 2024-2025.
The council is in this position as the way the council is funded has changed. The general Government grant to the council reduced from more than £1m in 2010 to zero in 2020 and the Government’s New Homes Bonus has fallen from £2.4m in 2016-17 to only £0.243m now. Costs are rising and the authority has incurred substantial additional costs and lost income due to COVID-19: these have not been fully covered by the Government.
The Cabinet’s plans include stopping some discretionary services including a small business grant scheme and phasing out involvement with some leisure facilities. It is also looking to charge in the future for some services which it currently provides for free. The proposals state that this would only be if government funding does not cover the costs. The survey also asks for opinions on funding options for its priorities including how it would like to finance its plans to cut carbon emissions in the district.
The Cabinet now wants the public’s view on its plans before more detailed budget proposals are drawn up.
Councillor Mary Rayner, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Capital Portfolio said:
“Over the last 8 years, we have achieved savings of more than £3.3m a year but, despite that hard work, we still have an estimated funding gap of £2m. We are continuing to make efficiency savings and generate more income but we need to make more changes. We cannot continue to provide the same number or quality of services we have in the past. The survey is an opportunity for people to have their say on our proposed ways of closing the funding gap.”
The survey is live on the council’s website and available at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/budget. It closes at midday on Thursday 9 December 2020.
Feedback from the survey will feed into a report on the Medium Term Financial Strategy at the Cabinet’s meeting in December.