Have your say on council spending cuts

Not specific to Pelsall, but should be of interest:

A major drive has been launched by Walsall Council to encourage people to have their say on spending plans.

People have been urged to email, tweet, write, or use other channels to air their views to help them shape difficult decisions that lie ahead.

Services important to residents will be protected as much as possible,  Cllr Mike Bird, Walsall Council Leader, said.

He said: “We fully understand that these are tough times. We’ll do all we can to protect the things Walsall residents and businesses tell us they care about.

“We want to be open and transparent about the tough choices that lie ahead and we want to let people have their say.”

According to early budget proposals to go to the Walsall Council cabinet on October 24 and published atwww.walsall.gov.uk/budgethaveyoursay more than £13 million of savings are needed in the next financial year as part of £70 million of savings over the next four years. More than £32 million has already been saved over the last two years.

The overall budget proposals for the 2013/14 financial year is £620 million.

The published proposals are set to be shaped and redrafted before the final budget is decided upon next February.

Councillor Christopher Towe, portfolio holder for finance for the Walsall Council coalition, said that redundancies may be inevitable but that the authority would do all it could to protect the things that are important to residents and businesses.

“At the moment, we estimate there may potentially be 88 redundancies as things stand in our budget proposals. We will do all we can to minimise compulsory redundancies by seeking volunteers.

“The final figure will only become clear when the budget is approved in February.”

Councillor Ian Shires, cabinet member for community engagement and voluntary sector for the Walsall Council coalition, said the consultation was one of the largest ever mounted.

He said: “We want to encourage people to have their say on the tough decisions that lie ahead of us. I’ll be urging people who live and work in Walsall to check  the budget webpage.  We want their views on the initial budget proposals but we also want to hear from them about other ideas for where the council should be saving money.

“It’s important to stress that this budget is draft as it stands and is not written in tablets of stone.”

People have been urged to find out more about budget proposals at www.walsall.gov.uk/budgethaveyoursay and to complete the online response form.

People can also have their say by emailing budgetconsultation@walsall.gov.uk or by filling in a special budget postcard being distributed in newspapers and in libraries across the borough. You can also use Twitter to tweet @walsallcouncil, Facebook on the Our Walsall page or in person at the First Stop Express bus at locations around the borough (details are available on our website).

For more information you can call 01922 653644. Although you can comment on budget proposals up until February 2013, the closing date for this period of consultation is 23 November 2012.

(NB: this is an unedited press release from Walsall Council)

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