Results for this year’s priorities and budget consultation, which closed on 9 October, have been compiled, analysed and are now available on the council’s website.
It is evident that due to government funding reductions, residents are increasingly concerned about the council’s ability to provide uninterrupted and quality services including rural transport and libraries. Reduction to funding will inevitably mean changes must be made and the council is looking at alternative delivery methods to avoid reduced services where possible.
Earlier this year, central government asked local areas to come forward with proposals for devolution that would enable economic growth and better services to local residents. The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill is currently working its way through the Houses of Parliament.
Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of Herefordshire Council, said, “Through the consultation process it has become apparent that residents consider some services to be particularly important to them. We will need to develop strategies in order to maintain these frontline services and look forward to working with communities to develop these strategies.”
He added, “We are looking at ways of using possible savings in some areas to reflect the priorities expressed in the consultation”
Herefordshire Council is at an early stage in the devolution process and has expressed interest in gaining a greater say over how public money is spent, and how services and national bodies are run by central government. This would include local economic development; skills development; transport; broadband; and health and social care. The next step is to work-up detailed proposals with neighbouring authorities in The Marches Local Economic Partnership and with local health bodies.
For updates on the 2016/17 budget consultation and to view the results, please visit https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/government-citizens-and-rights/democracy/council-finances/priorities-and-budget-consultation-2016-to-2020