MAJOR CONSULTATION INVITES RESIDENTS TO HELP SHAPE THE FUTURE OF THEIR COMMUNITY

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Residents are being invited to have their say about the Council’s priorities for the next four years and how they should be funded against a challenging financial backdrop.

The authority has today (Wednesday) launched a major public consultation titled Let’s Talk to gather views on its plan and budget proposals for 2016-2020.

It sets out 10 priorities to make Cheshire West and Chester a place with thriving residents, flourishing communities and a prosperous economy.

The consultation offers people the chance to have their say on these priorities and the options set out for balancing the books over the next four years.

Reductions in central Government funding mean that the authority must bridge a £47m financial gap over the next four years – a 17 percent cut to its net budget.

People are being asked for their views on a range of cost reduction options which could potentially save £35m.

Suggestions are also being invited as to how the Council could further raise its income or reduce its spending to find the remaining £12m.

Council Leader Samantha Dixon said: “As an ambitious Council, we are determined to deliver the best possible services, improve the quality of life for all residents and tackle disadvantage.
“This major document sets out our new vision and priorities and details how we want to make a difference over the next four years.
“But to ensure we can fund our priorities, we must find new ways of working. We expect central government to cut our main grant to zero by 2020. By this point we will have saved a total of £115m since 2010.
“This means difficult choices will need to be made about what the Council protects, does differently, or even stops doing altogether.
“What is crucial is that every pound we spend improves the lives of local people. So it is vital that these decisions are shaped by our residents.
“I would therefore urge people to let us know their views, both about our priorities, and how we can raise our income or reduce our spending.”

The consultation runs until January 6. There are a number of ways that people can get involved and have their say:

• Visit www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/letstalk for full details and to complete an online questionnaire, or pick up a paper copy at any Cheshire West and Chester library, Brio leisure centre or any Council office.
• Use the online budget simulator via the above link to make decisions on priorities and suggest how the Council might allocate its budget
• Join the conversation on social media – find the Council on Facebook or tweet @Go_Cheshirewest using the hashtag #Letstalkcwac
• Join one of the many Let’s Talk consultation events taking place throughout the borough including discussion groups with residents, businesses, interest groups and partners. Full details are available at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/letstalk
• Email letstalk@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk, telephone 0300 123 8 123 or write to Let’s Talk, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Council Offices, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE.
Final proposals will be considered at the Council’s annual budget setting meeting in February 2016.

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