Warwickshire County Council has today (22 September) announced a set of options to be considered to meet the great spending challenges that lie ahead.
Like local authorities up and down the country, Warwickshire County Council continues to face extreme financial challenges. Reductions in Government grants, inflation and demographic pressures mean the council must identify savings amounting to around £67 million by 2020.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of the council, has made a public statement at this morning’s council meeting at Shire Hall in which she outlined the scale of the financial situation faced by the local authority, and revealed the options prepared by officers to meet the challenges over the next three years.
These options will form the basis of a conversation with the public to find out what people value most, before the budget is set in February.
Through the council statement, Cllr Seccombe put forward the council’s core ambitions to protect vulnerable members of the community and promote economic growth.
She outlined how these priorities will drive a number of tough decisions which need to be taken in the coming months and beyond.
Setting the scene for her statement, Cllr Seccombe said:
“We have always been open about the scale of challenges facing the County Council. We have already been through a difficult period and have had to make some difficult decisions. We have not shied away from these and I must pay testament to our staff who have stepped up to the plate, found solutions that have worked and delivered good services to support the people of Warwickshire. At the heart of our decision making have been the key principles of fairness, equality and providing the best services we can for those who need them most.
“We now need to identify around a further £67 million worth of savings over the next 3 years. This £67 million arises from reductions in Government grant, inflation and additional demographic pressures. This means shaping the future of a very different County Council and different public service provision in Warwickshire by 2020. Everything we do is on behalf of and impacts on the people of Warwickshire and we need to have a conversation with people about their priorities, hopes and fears, challenges and ambitions.
“After this meeting, we will be going out to talk to people around the county, we want to open up a conversation with our communities – to talk about the scale of the issues we face, including opening up an online budget calculator which allows people to have a go at creating the council budget. We will also be talking to our staff about how this might affect them and how we can work together to deliver services differently in the future.”
Cllr Seccombe concluded:
“In order to do this, we need to know what people value. By taking these difficult decisions and investing in the future, I am confident that we will meet this challenge and be successful in making Warwickshire the best it can be.”
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