Residents’ views sought on tough decisions for balancing the budget

Hampshire County Council has launched a survey today, to ask people for their views on options for managing a shortfall in the money needed to balance the budget.

Jul 3 2017

Scales
By 2019/20, the Authority is expecting to face a gap of £140 million as a result of on-going national austerity measures; demographic changes reflecting increases in demand for some services; and inflationary pressures.

Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry said: “Although we have been preparing for this challenge for some time, finding these additional savings is inevitably going to be extremely tough. This is because we have already made significant reductions in our spending over the last nine years to the sum of £340 million. The picture is worsened by the fact that central Government revenue support grant funding for Hampshire will cease altogether in 2019/20 – but demand for County Council services continues to rise.

“The steps that we have taken so far, which have served us well, have included: securing savings early; reinvesting in new, more efficient ways of working; and making prudent use of our reserves to meet gaps in funding. However, we now have to consider more radical ways of making ends meet, at the same time as protecting vital public services.

“The Serving Hampshire – Balancing the Budget consultation asks residents and stakeholders to give us their views on a number of high-level, strategic options including: potential changes to services; further ways to generate income; use of reserves; potential increases to Council Tax; and changing local government in Hampshire.

“It is important to stress that at this stage, the County Council is not proposing specific changes to services. Any proposals will be informed by feedback from this consultation and subject to further, more detailed public engagement. Therefore, only examples of possible service changes have been provided.”

The consultation is open from midday on 3 July 2017, and closes at 11:59pm on 21 August 2017.

Feedback will be used to inform final savings proposals put to Select Committees and Executive Members, before consideration by the full County Council in October this year.

The survey can be completed online. Paper copies may be requested by emailing insight@hants.gov.uk and are also available from Hampshire libraries.

Please return paper response forms in the Freepost envelope provided. If you do not have a Freepost envelope, please post your response to: Freepost HAMPSHIRE