Yes probably you have if you read my blog…
Well if you are interested there will be a presentation to the internal scrutiny committee (made up of cross party backbenchers) that is open to the public on Wednesday 6.30pm at the civic centre.
This year we have tried to make our budgeting as open as possible and to get as many ideas from the public as we can through ‘We need to talk’. This presentation will be less interactive but should be of interest. The presentation is by a senior member of staff at the council and it’s not about what decisions we will be making but about what the parameters are: It will focus on the budget process and timescales and will include relevant data which needs to be taken into consideration when local authorities set budgets. The presentation will also include some of the national context of the budget-building process for 2012/13.
If you can’t make it but are interested you can find the paperwork here – item 3 on the agenda.
I think it’s very important to get this information out to the public.
One slide I think is particularly stark is the impact on Reading of the cuts from national government. This has fallen from £82m in 2010/11 to £69.7m if you include the council tax freeze grant and £66.3m if you ignore it (some of it is a one off grant that won’t be repeated in future years). Add inflation to that mix and the rising demand for elderly care in particular and it’s a very tough situation we’re in. No need to be political about that, it would be a challenge for any organisation to be in this position.