Telford & Wrekin Council is set to outline its next set of budget proposals at a meeting on Thursday evening before asking residents for their views on its budget proposals.
Cabinet members will be told that the council is intent on being relentless to in delivering its objectives of giving residents a borough they can be proud of where residents are healthier, feel safer and want to develop more skills to get better jobs.
Telford & Wrekin Council also wants to help make the borough cleaner, more prosperous and to continue to develop excellent transport links and good roads.
The Council is determined to help achieve all of this despite continuing government cuts, with £96m already saved from the council’s budget and a further £25-30m to save by 2019.
The Council has sought to do make savings in ways that protect frontline services as far as possible and, where services to the public are affected, to do this in as compassionate a way as possible.
Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Council Finance, Partnerships and Commercial Services, said: “To make the cuts the government is forcing on us, we have to change the way we deliver many services.
“At the same time, prices for many things are increasing while demand for many services such as safeguarding children from harm and neglect are rising, yet the day when the Government’s support for Telford & Wrekin Council is zero comes ever closer.
“We are working hand in hand with community groups who have stepped up and are taking on the running of services including libraries, community centres, children’s centres and local markets.
“Rather than just cut and run from the community, we promised we would work hard to find solutions and we have enjoyed some early successes in this respect and have started to develop some very healthy working relationships in areas we perhaps had not done before.
“However, we need to keep working closely with the community so they can tell us how they can help provide some of the services we can no longer afford. In many cases we may be able to help provide initial funding to get these services up and running.
“Above all, we want our borough to be a place with a strong sense of community where people get involved and work together.
“The Council is still a large organisation delivering many services to local people so it is essential that we use our remaining revenue and capital resources as effectively as possible to deliver the greatest possible benefit to local people.
“We have to make changes but will always place priority on essential services and will not let financial pressures due to Government cuts mean that we fail to meet the assessed needs of the most vulnerable.”
Despite the ongoing cuts, the council is planning some one off investments into services, infrastructure and the Pride programme to help make Telford and Wrekin a better place to live, work or for businesses to invest in. This in turn delivers growth, jobs and income which can help defend the borough against the worst effects of the cuts.
“Ensuring that the borough is an attractive place to live, work and visit is essential if we are to attract new businesses that will create jobs and bring prosperity to the area and the people that live here,” added Councillor Carter.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s budget consultation runs until February 5. This asks residents whether they want the Council to apply the option the Government has given to councils to introduce the assumed adult social care precept more quickly.
The Council had planned to apply this 2% increase each year over the next three years together with a 1.2% increase for other services.
However it could now apply this increase earlier in just two years instead of three.
This would give a 4.2% increase in Council Tax over the next two years and then a 1.2% increase in the third year. This would provide a one off benefit of £1.8m for adult social care.
This would see council tax rise more quickly. In the first two years – for the average band B home in the borough by 74p a week in year one as opposed to 54p per week and then by 78p per week instead of 57p and 58p per week more if the council sticks with its planned increase.
By the third year the level of council tax would be the same as originally proposed.
Residents can give their views in an online budget survey at www.telford.gov.uk/budget. Copies of these will also be available at the Council’s First Point facilities at Madeley and Newport Libraries, SW1 in Southwater and at Wellington Civic Centre.