Falkirk Council’s battle to balance the budget begins

It's cost counting time at the council.
It's cost counting time at the council.

Falkirk residents are being asked to tell the local authority just what it can do with its money.

Communities are being invited to put forward their priorities for the next financial year to help Falkirk Council set its next budget in 2019/20.

A wide-ranging consultation is due to start in October to seek views of community groups, families, young people and businesses on how Falkirk Council should best spend its £336 million revenue budget.

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The results of the consultation will inform elected members on where spending priorities lie across local communities prior to them taking a final decision expected in February 2019.

Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “Protecting and supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is the most important aspect of our work and our budgets will always prioritise this.

“We are spending over £300 million on services in the next year but we need to hear from communities where they want to see this spend targeted and this survey will help us be far better informed.

“We’re also taking a radical look at how services are delivered locally and aim to make it easier for customers to get to the services they actually need – especially by developing more online services that save money and fit in with the needs and residents.

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“Our new five-year approach to budgeting will allow us to be a great deal more robust in tackling our budget gap of more than £60 million over this time period. This is recognised as a more financially sound approach.

“It is clear, however, we need to take far bolder decisions to manage this shortfall and plan longer term to ensure we get back on track and continue to deliver vital services in all our communities where it really matters.”

The survey asks questions about current levels of services, the introduction of charges, increasing council tax, closing facilities and various other issues.

As well as the online consultation, local meetings with community groups and parent councils are also planned.

Visit www.falkirk.gov.uk for more information.