LOCAL authorities have the potential to transform the lives of people with sight loss by making small but significant changes.

Often simple, cost effective, innovative actions make a huge difference.

With local authorities currently having to look for ways to stretch their ever dwindling resources, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) calls on councils to do one simple thing when setting their budgets for 2013/14 - properly consult and listen to its blind and partially sighted residents.

Last summer RNIB produced a research report which looked at how local authorities could introduce 'quick wins' to improve the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

One of the main practical, cost effective solutions was to involve and work in partnership with disabled people, including those living with sight loss.

This is crucial when setting budget priorities for the years ahead.

The RNIB believes that despite the difficult decisions having to be made, local authorities can deliver a "bedrock" of preventative and rehabilitative services and improve access to information through simple steps such as recording residents' preferred communications format.

The time is now for local authorities to help build a better future for people with sight loss and avoid them being hit hardest by budget cuts.

Lindsay Armstrong,

RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer of North West,
Duke Street, Liverpool.