By planning ahead like this and the through the careful use of reserves, the County Council has successfully found ways to deliver services differently and more efficiently, securing savings of £480 million over the past 11 years.
Due to growing demand for council services, further reductions in Government funding, rising costs and inflation, the County Council faces a further estimated budget shortfall of £80 million by April 2021. This means more decisions will need to be made about what the County Council can and cannot provide in future.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans said: “We have been preparing for this challenge for some time, but opportunities for reducing costs are getting harder to find as we have already reduced our spending by almost £0.5 billion in just over a decade whilst demand for county services has continued to rise.
“Our financial strategy to date has involved targeting resources on those who need them most, such as vulnerable children and adults, planning ahead and securing savings early. This approach has helped us to invest in new, more efficient ways of working. The careful use of reserves has helped to address gaps in funding and enabled the County Council to meet the cost of additional pressures in demand for some services, such as social care. However, we now have to consider further ways of making ends meet, at the same time as protecting vital public services.”
The Balancing the Budget consultation presents a range of options that could contribute towards balancing the budget. The consultation opens at midday on Wednesday 5 June 2019 and closes at 11:59pm on 17 July 2019.
Councillor Mans added: “We would like to hear from as many Hampshire residents and stakeholders as possible to help us understand and consider the potential impact of any changes proposed. 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 2019. 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, which will be live from midday on Wednesday 5 June. There will also be a full information pack about the proposals in the consultation on this webpage. Paper copies can be requested by emailing email@example.com or calling 0300 555 1375, and will also be available from local Hampshire libraries.