Published:
May 24, 2016
Burnham residents to have their say on balancing council's budget

Visitors to Burnham-On-Sea town centre this Saturday (May 28th) will be able to voice their opinion about Somerset County Council's budget cuts and priorities.

The council will be holding a public engagement display about the challenges of rising demand and falling funding.

The 'Listening, Learning, Changing' roadshow will be held during the town's Food & Drink Festival in the town centre.

Central Government funding for the County Council fell by £15m last year and is due to fall by a further £42m by 2019/2020.

At the same time, demand for the authority’s services, particularly Adult Social Care, is increasing, driven largely by Somerset’s ageing population.

In less than 20 years, people aged 65 and over will make up more than a quarter of the population in almost every part of Somerset.

At this Saturday's event, people will be asked to try their hand at balancing the council's budget on a giant set of scales and to give their views on its priorities and other key issues.

The roadshow will also visit ten other towns across the county between the end of May and early September.

"Each year these events give us the chance to speak to thousands of residents and get their views on some of the key issues for the County Council," said Councillor John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council.

"We are ambitious and looking positively to the long-term with initiatives like the Vision for Somerset. But once again huge reductions in funding from central Government and pressures caused by an ageing population mean we also have significant savings to make."

"We estimate that we will need to make savings of around £15m next financial year. We have already saved roughly £120m over the last five years and it is very difficult to find further savings without hitting the services that we know residents value."

"I have worked hard to make this a council that listens and does its best to take people’s views into account when we are discussing these tough decisions."

As well as the Balancing Act Scales scales, people can show their priorities by placing coins in our ‘Think Tanks’ and complete a short questionnaire. The same questionnaire will also soon be available online at www.somerset.gov.uk/listening

Representatives from the Council will be on hand to answer questions and fun activities will be available to keep children entertained.

 


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