Hampshire County Council has launched its Balancing the Budget consultation, to understand the views of residents and stakeholders across Hampshire on options to help the Authority deliver a balanced budget through to 2023/ 2024.
To date, by planning ahead and using reserves carefully, the County Council has successfully found ways to deliver services differently and more efficiently, securing recurring savings of £560 million over the past 13 years. However, continuing to deliver important local services during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside existing pressures from over a decade of national funding reductions and increased demand for County Council services has placed an additional burden on the Authority’s financial resilience. Furthermore, in the absence of a multi-year funding settlement from the Government, the Authority continues to face a budget shortfall of at least £80 million over the next two years (2022/23 and 2023/24). Councils across England are facing the same budgetary pressures.
This requires us to make more tough decisions about what the County Council can and cannot provide in future.
Opportunities for reducing costs are getting harder to find which is why it is important that the County Council listens to the views of residents and stakeholders, many of whom are likely to be affected by the outcomes.
The Balancing the Budget consultation runs from midday on Monday 7 June 2021 to 11:59pm on 18 July 2021.
They would like to hear from as many residents and stakeholders as possible. Feedback will help to inform areas where the County Council could focus on balancing its budget through to 2023/24 and help them to understand and consider the potential impact of any changes proposed. No prior decisions have been made regarding the proposals.
People can take part in the consultation via the online response form on the webpage: www.hants.gov.uk/balancingthebudget. There is also a full information pack about the proposals in the consultation on the webpage.
Paper copies can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0300 555 1375 and these are also available from local Hampshire libraries.
They are publicising the consultation widely through a variety of channels including the news media, on the web pages, via social media, and direct communications with key stakeholder groups.
The views submitted through this consultation will be collated and used to inform discussions at Executive Member, Select Committee, Cabinet and Council budget proposal meetings during 2021. Decisions relating to specific services will be subject to further, more detailed, consultation.