Kent residents have will have the opportunity to talk live online to KCC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, John Simmonds, when he takes part in a web chat this Friday 24th October.
The people of Kent still have time to air their views on which KCC services are most important to them and where Kent County Council can make budget cuts that must deliver £206m savings over the next 3 years and this is another chance to find out more details about where these savings could be made.
KCC is on track to deliver this year’s target savings of another £81m on top of savings of £269m over the last three years, but there are clear indications from government that the squeeze on local government finance will continue until at least 2018, which is a significant challenge.
Part of the public consultation asks whether people living in Kent would accept a small increase to their council tax of 1.99% (in line with inflation), which would deliver in excess of £10m extra each year to help preserve services, reduce the need for savings and balance the books.
John Simmonds, Cabinet Member for Finance, says “The extent of the challenge is clear for all to see and the decisions we make in our budget will affect everyone in Kent. That’s why we want as many residents as possible to take part in our budget consultation. This is the toughest budget we’ve ever faced.”
“We really want to hear from residents how they think these savings could be made and which services are most important to them. I’m looking forward to taking part in the web chat this Friday and discussing these important issues with the people of Kent. I hope the chat will inspire more people to take part in this extremely important consultation.”
The web chat will take place from 12.30pm – 2.00pm on Friday 24th October. To take part visit kent.gov.uk/budget and follow the links. You can submit questions which will be answered live by John Simmonds. You can then visit the same link to answer three simple questions on how you would like to see KCC meet the financial challenge. You can also use the online budget tool to tell us your local priorities and decide how they would balance the KCC budget yourself.
As it seeks to set its budget, KCC:
- Is expected to lose a further 15% (£56m) in of Government funding in 2015/16
- must absorb £36m unavoidable spending pressures – due to increases in charges we pay, and more people requiring vital services such as social care
- must find £60m of capital to provide additional school places for the rising number of pupils in our primary schools
- is asking Kent residents to accept a small (1.99% increase) to help reduce the amount of savings needed and protect frontline services. This would raise £10m and equates to £19 for a Band C property.