Create your own council budget

With the financing of Local Government now approaching a critical stage, St Helens Council will be looking to consult on its budget for 2016/2017 with the people who matter most – residents!

Since 2010, the council has had to absorb a 53 per cent reduction in its
revenue support grant. This equates to a reduction in service spend of over £850 per household in the borough, and means that the council has had to identify savings of £65 million to date.

And the continuation of the Government’s programme of austerity means the reality of the local authority’s position is that funding support –
integral to the provision of services – is in years to come only set to
reduce further.

In fact, the council is currently forecasting that future savings
requirements will reach £23 million, with £13 million to be found over the
course of 2016/2017.

In the last five years, St Helens Council has done well to deliver savings
and efficiencies of £65 million, whilst continuing to provide effective
services and limit the impact on local people.

But now is the time when, once again, the local authority will be looking
to local people, seeking their views on the council’s finances and the
shaping of services using the online ‘You Choose’ budget simulator.

The simulator challenges residents to take on the difficult task of cutting
the expected £13 million from the 2016/2017 budget, keeping it balanced
whilst continuing to protect critical services.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Councillor
Anthony Johnson said: “We have now got to the point where it is inevitable
that future grant reductions are going to have a real impact on the
delivery of our services. However, the budget must be balanced as we cannot spend more than we have.

“I am sure that our budget simulator will again prove of interest to
residents and provide some understanding of the potential implications of
further Government cuts and the very difficult and complex decisions that
lie ahead.

“Consultation via ‘You Choose’ will be open until the beginning of February
and I would encourage all interested to be part of the process, to try the
simulator and provide their views.”

The ‘You Choose’ simulator can be found at
http://www.sthelens.gov.uk/budget.

Residents can also provide their comments and views by contacting the
council’s Contact Centre at contactcentre@sthelens.gov.uk or on 01744
676789.

The budget setting process will be completed in early March 2016 and up to this point the council will continue to listen carefully to people’s
comments to help in finding the best possible options and solutions for the
future of St Helens.