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People have their say on public services

Author: 
John Freeman
Officers from Lancaster City Council were out and about last week asking people their views on public services at a series of ‘listening days’.

The events were an opportunity for the council to gauge the public mood in the week of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and for people to talk about priorities and reductions in services provided by the council and other public bodies.

The listening days were part of the council’s budget consultation, the aim of which is to ask the public their views on where the council can save money and which services could  be reduced or cut to balance the books.

Following the announcements made in the CSR this is more important than ever as the council stands to see its budget slashed by approximately 30 per cent over the next four years.

Coun Stuart Langhorn, Leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The council will be carefully studying the announcements made in the Comprehensive Spending Review to determine their impact on the services we provide directly or help to fund.

“But while the CSR gives a clear indication that the council’s budget will be cut significantly, we won’t know by exactly how much until the Government tells us our level of Revenue Support Grant in November.

“It is clear, however, that the council will have to make fundamental changes to the way it works and reduce the services it is able to provide.”

Many people have already taken part in the council’s budget consultation by filling in a budget questionnaire or attending one of the listening days.

An invited panel of people from consultation panels run by the city and county council were also invited to take part in one of three budget forums.

So far approximately 400 questionnaires have been returned, 200 people took part in listening days and 40 members of the public took part in budget forums.

The results of the budget consultation will be presented to Cabinet.

• There’s still time for those that haven’t already to take part by filling in a budget questionnaire which is online now at www.lancaster.gov.uk/consultation.  Hard copies were distributed in October via Your District Council Matters.
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