Council asks residents to budget as it admits ‘no easy options left’

Coun Peter Box
Coun Peter Box
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A WEST Yorkshire council is asking residents how it would balance the books as it looks to cut £30m from next year’s budget.

Wakefield Council expects it will have to make the savings in 2016/17, on top of £38m this financial year - and says there are “no easy options left”.

Since 2011, a further £81m of savings have been made.

It has launched a new interactive tool on its website to highlight “the difficult choices that need to be made” when making savings to budgets, where residents businesses can show how they think the budget would best be spent.

Council leader Coun Peter Box, said: “The scale of the cuts to our budget are set to continue at a similar rate to the past few years so we need to explore how our money can be best spent.

“Our residents all have different priorities and needs of the Council, and we need to balance this against managing the reduction in our Government funding. We have already made significant savings in recent years so we know there are no easy options left.

“We have always tried to limit the impact these cuts will have on our residents, and of course we will continue to do so, but the reality is that universal services will be affected and the public will notice a difference.

“These are tough decisions to make which is why I want residents and businesses to tell us what they think so we can take their views into consideration.

“The ‘YouChoose’ exercise is a way to capture these views and leaves participants with some idea of just how tough these choices are to make.”

Councils across Yorkshire have faced unprecedented budget cuts in recent years.

On Tuesday, the Yorkshire Post reported how Leeds Council leader Coun Judith Blake warned that new powers to raise money to pay for social care will not be enough to cover the rising costs of looking after the elderly.