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Consultation starts on spending priorities
Bradford Council has begun asking for the public’s views on the authority’s spending ahead of the 2013/14 budget which could lead to a 2.5 per cent rise in council tax bills.
This is the first stage in a consultation process as there will be more opportunities for people to have their say as future spending proposals are developed.
Information has been published on the Council’s website which sets out the local and national context for the budget setting process, alongside information about its priorities and principles, the savings that have already been made, how money is spent now and the main stages in setting the budget.
Over the last two years the Council has had to reduce spending by a total of more than £72 million. Further cuts are expected to bite in next year’s budget.
Consultation documents also show that additional Government funding to help freeze council tax, which Bradford has received for the past two years, is not expected to be available for a third year. Therefore the authority is working to a financial plan based on a council tax increase of 2.5 per cent, which would add £27 to the annual bill of a band D household.
Council leader, Councillor David Green , has warned of challenging times ahead and difficult decisions to be made, but has invited “original thinking”.
Coun Green said: “This is the first step in a dialogue between the Council, citizens, business and public, voluntary and community partners about our budget for next year and what council services will look like in years to come.
“The Council faces challenging times and difficult decisions as unprecedented levels of public spending cuts begin to bite against a backdrop of increasing demand for services and continued economic uncertainty.
“No decisions have been made and we are open to considering new approaches and ideas. I want this consultation to invite original thinking about how and what services are delivered. Your views do count and we want you to have your say and tell us what matters to you.”
Feedback from this initial consultation will be used to develop the actual budget proposals which will be published later in the year, and further consultation is expected to take place then.
To find out more and to have your say log on to bradford.gov.uk/consultations, or write to the Council at Freepost RLTC-KEGA-JGRX, Bradford Council Budget Consultation, Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX.
A printed version of the information will be available from public libraries by the end of August.