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The Budget Simulator is a tool which gives the residents of the borough the opportunity to put forward their views on how future years savings can be achieved to ensure the Council delivers a balanced budget within the resources available.
The Council welcomes the views of the public and would like to express their gratitude to the public for participating by using the budget simulator as part of the 2016-17 budget setting process.
The Council is currently undertaking the budget consultation for 2017/18, and the Budget Simulator for 2017/18 is now open.
The impact of government imposed spending reductions and growing demand for services sees the council facing budget pressures like never before.
Despite the immense challenges of the last six years, the council has continued to effectively provide a full range of services, whilst delivering savings and efficiencies.
However, the future funding outlook brings great uncertainty. Further reductions in government grants are assured for the next three years and by 2020 the council will enter unchartered water, being solely reliant on locally raised revenue in order to fulfil its statutory duties and fund the delivery of vital services across the local community.
The council is currently forecasting that it will be required to save £20.6 million between 2017 and 2020, with £7.8 million to be found over the course of 2017/18.
Now is the time to consult on our budget strategy for 2017/18 and we are again using ‘You Choose’ - an online budget simulator to seek people’s views on the council’s finances and the shaping of services.
The council cannot spend more than it has and a balanced budget must be produced. The simulator challenges residents to take on this difficult task of cutting £7.8 million, while continuing to protect critical services.
St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald said: “Once again we have seen St Helens hit by funding reductions far greater than many less deprived areas and given the challenges facing us we will urge the Government to review its position in future spending reviews to support fairer funding.”
“There is no doubt that we will have to continue do more with less in the future and tough choices still lie ahead. I hope that our budget simulator is able to provide some understanding of the impact of government cuts and the complexity of the decisions we face.”
“However, as one of the most stable, well run and ambitious councils in the country, I am positive that we will go beyond just delivering a balanced budget and take forward a programme of transformation that secures the successful future of the council and the borough”.
Consultation via ‘You Choose’ will be open until the beginning of February 2017 and we would encourage all who are interested to be part of the process, to try the simulator and provide their views. Residents can also provide their comments and views by contacting the Council’s Contact Centre
The budget setting process will be completed in early March 2017 and throughout the process we will continue to listen carefully to people’s comments to help us find the best possible options and solutions for St.Helens’ future.