Thousands of people have taken part in a major consultation on Wirral Council’s budget - and there is still time to have your say.
The consultation, which closes this Friday, January 22, is seeking people’s views on a range of options to help balance the budget for next year, 2021-22.
More than 2,200 people so far have filled in the questionnaire at the council’s consultation portal website, while hundreds more took part in online Q&As with council leader Cllr Janette Williamson. Still more have emailed or have contacted their local councillors to give their views, while council staff have also given their opinions and suggestions through internal channels.
Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “First of all thank you to everyone who has filled in the questionnaire, joined the Q&As, contacted their councillor to tell us what you think of the options being looked at to balance the budget.
“The last thing almost any councillor wants to do is consider any of the cuts being put forward in this consultation. However, we have to face incredibly difficult decisions because the council is in such a perilous financial situation.
“But I can guarantee to everyone who takes part in this consultation that your opinions matter to us. This consultation is a vital part of the budget setting process and the opportunity for the people of Wirral to have their say on the options before any final decisions are made.
“And for those who still haven’t taken part – please use this opportunity to get involved and tell us your views before the consultation closes.”
A budget gap of around £40 million was reported for financial year 2021/22 and the council is liaising with government on exceptional financial support that may be available to offset its pressures, largely stemming from Covid-19, which are estimated to be around £25.5 million. However, this still leaves £16.5 million that the council will have to find to offset its general budget pressures in 2021/22.
Because of the budget gap the council must find ways to cut costs and where possible raise additional income, including considering options which do under any other circumstances we would not otherwise choose to consider to ensure the council remains sustainable into the future.
Options being looked at range across the authority, from changes to bins collections, car parking charges and maintenance of parks and open spaces amongst many others. Major reductions in council “back office” functions are also being proposed.
After the consultation closes on Friday January 22, all contributions will be brought together and analysed. A full report reflecting the full range of responses will be put together to help councillors in making decisions about the options being looked at.
To take part in the consultation see https://haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk/
The consultation portal will close 11:59pm on Friday January 22.