Today Cumbria County Council has launched its public budget consultation and your views are sought.
This year the consultation focusses on the future and despite ongoing uncertainty around the funding of public services and looks at how it can work differently and protect the most essential council services.
Here in Cumbria since 2011, the Council has made savings of £214million, and they still need to find an additional £70 million by 2022. This amounts to around £285 million over an 11 year period.
At a meeting today, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet discussed proposals on how this financial challenge could be met as it looks ahead to 2022 and at the same time discussions took place on proposals for a new vision for the council and outcomes for the people of Cumbria.
Resident’s comments are now sought on the council’s proposed future direction, as well as asking for feedback on the proposal to increase the county council’s share of council tax by 1.99%. This, together with the Government’s 2% precept increase to help fund the rising costs of Adult Social Care, will take the proposed total increase for the county council element of the council tax to 3.99%.
Cllr Ian Stewart, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council said: “The ongoing financial pressures on the public sector remain difficult and challenging. Much of this pressure is down to the widespread uncertainty we face regarding our funding but also the fact that Council services to support children, young people and vulnerable adults and older people currently face unprecedented demand.
“What is clear is that the Council will have to deliver essential services with less money. All of this means we have had to look quite radically at how we do business. Looking at transforming our services over the next 3 to 4 years in order to deliver on our responsibilities to the people of Cumbria, putting customers at the heart of what we do and being more enterprising and efficient.
“Efficiency alone is no longer sufficient and a fresh approach is now required. As we move forward, we need to explore ways we can become ever more entrepreneurial as a council – maximising opportunities to generate income and looking at how we can deliver services in more innovative and creative ways”.
The consultation document is now available at cumbria.gov.uk/budgetconsultation and will run until Monday 8 January 2018.
Feedback from public consultation will inform a new Council Plan and this will be considered by Cabinet and then got to Full Council with recommendations in February 2018 alongside the Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2018-2022.