From: “Reading Borough Council” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 16 Sep 2015 11:03
Subject: Budget Consultation – One Month Left to Have Your Say
Budget Consultation – One Month Left to Have Your Say
Reading Borough Council Press Release
RESIDENTS, organisations, voluntary groups and businesses have just one month left to have their say on a major package of saving, efficiency and income proposals.
Reading Borough Council began a three-month public consultation exercise in July on more than £7 million worth of proposed savings. The consultation closes on Friday October 16th at 5pm. People can have their say at www.reading.gov.uk/budget, where the individual budget proposals can be found.
The Council estimates it needs to save a further £39 million between now and 2019. That is because since 2013/14 the Government has cut Reading’s grant funding by 40%. The cuts to funding are taking place at a time when demand for local Council services in Reading is increasing.
The Council has already made savings of nearly £57 million since 2011. At a meeting of Policy Committee on July 20, the Council agreed a further £7.24 million worth of savings for public consultation.
Outcomes of the consultation will be reported back to the relevant Council Committee for consideration through the Autumn and Winter. Even if all of the proposed savings were agreed, it would still leave the Council having to find £31.76 million by 2019.
Jo Lovelock, Reading Borough Council Leader, said:
“This is major public consultation exercise on more than £7 million worth of proposed savings which will impact on people and organisations in Reading. It is important as many people as possible in Reading are aware of the proposals the Council is having to consider. There is now one month left for residents, organisations and businesses to have their say, and I would urge them to do that before the October 16th deadline.
“The scale of the government cuts is unprecedented for Reading. By 2019 we will have taken an estimated £100 million out of the Council budget, which inevitably impacts on people and organisations. Urban areas like Reading with increasing pressures – such as demand for care for the elderly and a huge rise in the numbers of children needing a school place – are facing the biggest cuts in government grants. The budget cuts we are facing mean the Council is being forced into difficult decisions and that will continue over the next three years. It is important people who live and work in Reading are aware of proposals coming forward and that this problem is as a direct result of government policy.”
The easiest way to find out more about the individual proposals and respond is online at www.reading.gov.uk/budget. Information leaflets have been distributed across Reading and hard copies of the proposals are also available to view at Council buildings, including libraries, leisure centres and at the Civic Offices.
For those without access to computers, people can write in with their feedback to: Budget Consultation, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU. The individual budget proposal (or proposals) being commented on should be clearly identified. Alternatively, people can email in with their views to email@example.com, again clearly identifying the relevant budget proposal/s they are commenting on.
Notes for Editors:
Reading Borough Council has made savings of nearly £57 million since 2011. In that time the Council workforce has been cut by more than 600 posts. Savings have also been achieved by finding more efficient ways of working, including making better use of technology. The process of identifying further efficiencies will now continue over the next three years.
The Council is considering a number of options to fill the estimated budget gap. Some of the savings will be delivered by changing the way the Council deliver services, and where they are delivered from. In some cases that will mean making better use of Council buildings and increasing income.
Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/article/1908/News–Press-Releases/
Media Contact: Oscar Mortali
Tel: 0118 937 2301