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Council chief urges readers to take part in consultation as deadline looms
11:16am Monday 8th October 2012 in News
COUNCIL chiefs are banking on a late rush of returns from a vital public consultation exercise to help councilors determine where reduced future spending should be focussed.
Over the next three years Wirral Council’s budget will be slashed by around £100m because of Government measures to keep spending in check.
The local authority made it a priority to seek public reaction by distributing 40,000 consultation forms to families across the borough.
So far, with less than two weeks left for people to make their views known, just 4,000 questionnaires have been returned.
Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: “I cannot stress enough how important it is that people get involved in this process.
“ We have no choice but to become a different council and this is going to mean radical and rapid change, making sure that our remaining budget is carefully targeted at our residents’ main priorities.
“We need to know what services matter the most to people and their families so that we can make sure that we spend our reduced budget on the right things.”
He added: "The scale of the savings we are being forced to make is greater than anything we have faced before.
"The removal of one-third of our net budget means that we must reduce our spending by around £100m over the next three years.”
The “What Really Matters” consultation comes to an end on Friday, October 19.
Responses to the consultation comes in the form of a questionnaire that asks about people's highest and lowest priorities and whether it would be right to increase fees for certain chargeable services.
The survey also asks whether the council should consider outsourcing or sharing some local services with other organisations and which, if any, services should be stopped or reduced.
Councillor Davies added: “I have been really pleased with the response rate so far, but we are continuing our efforts to engage with people right up to the deadline as I’m determined that we receive responses from as broad a cross-section of residents as possible.”
Details of where the consultation roadshow will be this week are available on the council’s website and paper copies of the questionnaire are also available from any council One Stop Shop, library, leisure centre or children’s centre.
An online version of the questionnaire, along with a video explaining the consultation, is also available at: www.wirral.gov.uk/whatreallymatters.