More than 1,200 people have responded to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Budget Challenge consultation since its launch on 2 September.
Over the next three years, the County Council must find an estimated £154m in savings to public services already depleted by three years of austerity and spiralling demand for support and care services for vulnerable adults and children.
So far, 1,270 people have had their say on what the Council’s priorities should be, where savings can be made and which services should be protected.
Most responses have come from people in the districts of Gedling (20%), Rushcliffe (16%), Newark and Sherwood (13%) and Broxtowe (12%).
Nearly 80 per cent of respondents to the consultation have said they feel more informed about the financial challenges facing the Council after taking part.
The opportunity to make comments on the Council’s Strategic Plan ends today (25 October), but people can still give their views on the Council’s overall budget position, including which services they would reduce and what type of reductions in service, such as reduced opening hours, they would accept.
The Council’s detailed budget proposals will be published at 5pm on Tuesday 5 November and be open for consultation from 13 November to 17 January.
The detailed proposals are likely to include significant changes to specific Council services, with many being reduced, delivered in a different way, or stopped all together.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “After years of austerity, the last thing people want to hear is that there is going to be more reductions in Council services, but it is important that we are upfront and honest with people about the position we’ve been put in by the unrelanting central Government cuts to our funding.
“We need to ensure the cuts we have to make are introduced with the minimum possible impact on the most vulnerable people in our communities and that they reflect our intention to deliver fairness in difficult times. The Budget Challenge aims to involve all our residents and businesses through every step of this process.
“To have more than 1,200 responses to our Budget Challenge before the detailed proposals have been finalised is an excellent response. It speaks volumes about how highly people value their services and they understand the difficult decisions facing us in the months to come.”
Throughout the Budget Challenge, people can get the latest information and register their views at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget or join the debate at Facebook/Nottinghamshire and Twitter @nottscc using the hashtag #NottsBudget
If you’re not online, you can still tell the Council what you think by:
Calling the customer service centre on 0300 500 80 80
Completing a comment card, available now in all Nottinghamshire County Council libraries
Requesting a copy of the Budget Challenge booklet by calling 0300 500 80 80
Writing to the FREEPOST address
The Budget Challenge closes on 17th January 2014. It is possible to take part in one, two or all three stages of the Budget Challenge.
All views offered will be taken into consideration before the final budget is considered by Full Council on 27 February 2014.