Residents thanked for feedback on council’s budget proposals
04 Feb 2021 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Residents have been thanked for their contribution in shaping the county council’s forthcoming budget proposals.
More than 370 people took part in an online consultation during December and January, while hundreds more watched a live budget question time with council leaders, and over 30,000 engaging on social media.
Residents and businesses gave their views on a wide range of issues which will help shape the council’s priorities going forward.
A cornerstone of the budget plans is a focus on economic recovery after a challenging financial year, with significant budget pressures due to increased demand in adult and children's social care, special educational needs and disability services, as well as the impact of Covid-19.
Savings of £8.172 million have been identified to balance the budget for 2020-21 but over the coming years there will also be a significant push on helping Northumberland to recover and grow economically, with an emphasis on delivering a green and sustainable future for the county.
Councillor Nick Oliver, Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said: “We wanted to consult with residents in a different way this year and we are very grateful to everyone who took the time to get involved.
“What’s clear from the feedback is that people want to see our most vulnerable residents protected, which reflects our own priorities.
“While we do have to make savings, we are proposing an overall increase in the gross spend on council services, with substantial increases going into adults, children’s and local services totalling around £17 million.”
Throughout the consultation the council received 150 suggestions and comments on how it could make savings through organisational improvements and efficiencies.
Cllr Oliver added: “Again these were very helpful and reflected many of the proposals we are putting forward.
"We’d stress that these savings are not straight across the board cuts to levels of provision – the emphasis is on doing things more efficiently, doing things differently and investing in up-front support rather than higher-cost interventions further down the line.
“We're looking at an overall budget spend of around £801m compared to £780m last year – every penny of which will be used to spend on services and invest in regenerating our communities.
“It’s obvious from the amount of feedback we’ve had how passionate and proud people are of the county they live in, and we hope our budget provides the best possible outcomes for everyone in Northumberland.”
The Council’s budget will be considered by a scrutiny committee and Cabinet next week before being considered by Full Council later this month.