Residents in County Durham are being invited to have their say on their local authority’s budget plans for next year.
Durham County Council needs to make further forecasted savings of £35.3m over the next four years in addition to the £224m it will have achieved during the period 2011-12 to 2018-19.
Frontline services will continue to be protected with savings coming from efficiencies, reduced costs and increased income; previously agreed savings; and reserves.
The council will also be continuing to provide a number of schemes which are already helping to ease the burden of spending cuts on the county’s residents and businesses.
This includes the Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which offers eligible residents a discount of up to 100 per cent on council tax; the exemption from paying council tax for care leavers up to the age of 25; and an initiative which is currently supporting more than 450 small and medium-sized businesses which faced the steepest increase in charges following the government’s revaluation of their properties in April 2017.
Members of the public can have their say on the budget proposals by visiting www.durham.gov.uk/consultations or by attending one of a number of Area Action Partnership (AAP) meetings taking place over the coming weeks.
The meetings will also give people the chance to find out more about the council’s work with residents to develop a new vision and priorities that will set the tone for the delivery of services over the next 10 years.
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “Since government funding cuts began in 2011, we have consulted with residents each year on our budget proposals and the feedback we have received has been key to our approach to making savings.
“Our priority since 2011 has been to protect frontline services. However, this will become more difficult over the coming years with further reductions in Government resources.
“We will continue to look for new ways of working but the sheer scale of funding reductions we will face in future, coupled with growing demands for services means we need to be clear about our priorities going forward.
“Refreshing our vision and priorities will enable us to reflect these changes as well as the changing needs and aspirations of our residents and, most importantly, they will steer our work over the next decade.”
A list of AAP meetings is also available at www.durham.gov.uk/consultations.