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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.
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’ Budget Challenge 2017-2020
St Helens Council’s Acting Leader, Councillor Andy Bowden, said: “As a council we are currently facing one of the most turbulent times in our history. We’ve already lost £74 million Government funding from our budget since 2010 with an additional £20.6 million of savings to make over the next three years (2017-2020), as we respond to significant cuts in funding we receive from central Government. In total, our funding to spend on services in St Helens by 2020 will be £90 million less than in 2010.
“The pressure we face not only comes from reduced funding, but also from increases in; the amount of children and young people needing care or some form of protection, the number of children with disabilities or severe learning difficulties and the ever increasing numbers of elderly people in need of social care as our population continues to age.
“From 2020 the amount of money provided to St Helens Council by Government will almost all be gone. The main funding available to protect vulnerable children, care for the elderly and maintain the roads will be your Council Tax and business rates generated from businesses in the borough. We are expected, as a borough to be self-sufficient. It means encouraging more rate paying business and increasing Council Tax so that essential services can be maintained.
“Over the next few months we will be reviewing some of the services we offer such as libraries, waste collection and school crossing patrols – we may have to charge for services that were previously free or carry out services less often such as cleaning the gullies and emptying the litter bins. There can be no doubt that services will be greatly affected, although we will do all we can to protect vital services to those with the greatest needs – vulnerable children and adults.
“We’ve got some tough choices ahead but we will continue to consult with local people and listen carefully to what you tell us, so together we can find the best option for the future of St Helens.”
Read the latest edition of St Helens First magazine to find out more about our budget position and view the video below.
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.