As Chancellor George Osborne reveals his budget autumn statement, local residents and business people have taken the opportunity to tell East Riding of Yorkshire Council how they think it should spend its budget.
About 80 people attended the final conference in a series of Budget Events, taking part in workshops and listening to how the council faces tough decisions in its spending process.
The event, at Beverley Leisure Complex on Wednesday December 4, saw Bridlington councillors Richard Harrap, Richard Burton and Margaret Chadwick attend, and challenged those attending to choose what their priorities would be if they had the opportunity to decide how the council allocates its finances.
Council officers and councillors outlined the Budget constraints East Riding of Yorkshire Council faces in light of continuing cuts in central Government funding but also explained to the people attending how sound financial management and forward planning meant the authority was better placed than many other councils to deal with the economic challenges.
In terms of population, the council receives £144 per person less in Government grants than the average for unitary authorities. It has to save another £71million by 2017 on top of £72million of savings already achieved in recent years.
Delegates at the conference were tasked with going through a mock Budget process themselves to decide how to prioritise theoretical Budget cuts.
The workshops gave those taking part the chance to choose which services to protect and which to make savings in - or deliver differently.
Coun Stephen Parnaby OBE, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “It’s always interesting to hear how residents feel we should prioritise spending and we feel it’s important to involve them and feed the results and opinions raised by them into our Budget-setting process.
“The Budget Events are always popular and they are also a good way to highlight the pressures the council is under to deliver top quality services on an ever-tightening budget.”
The results from this year’s series of Budget Events, which included a youth budget conference, will be published on the council’s website at www.eastriding.gov.uk/budgetevent in the New Year. Questions and answers from the events will also be published.
Feedback from the events will be used in the council’s Budget-setting process. The council is due to hear in the next fortnight what its Government grant will be for 2014/15 and it will set its Budget and council tax for the next financial year at a meeting on 6 February 2014.