Where should Suffolk’s council cuts fall?

Suffolk cabinet member Richard Smith. Picture; SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Suffolk cabinet member Richard Smith. Picture; SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Which services should face budget cuts as Suffolk County Council struggles to trim its budget by £25m over the next financial year.

That’s the question being asked by councillors as they start to draw up their budget plans for the financial year 2019/20.

Now Suffolk residents have been asked to have their say after a survey was put up on the council’s website asking which services should face cuts – or be protected from them.

Like all local authorities, Suffolk County Council faces significant financial challenges in the delivery of essential frontline services to support the lives of the most vulnerable young people and older residents across the county.

The council has cut £260million from its budgets since 2011 but there are still tough calls ahead and it wants to hear your views on which services are most important.

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A proposed budget will be presented at the Cabinet meeting on January 29 and the final budget will be discussed at Full Council on February 14 – so which services should be facing the St Valentine’s Day massacre?

The survey has already been completed by more than 150 residents in its first two days. By visiting the consultation page on the council’s website you can access the short survey and learn more about how much is spent on particular services.

You can also watch an introductory video from cabinet member for finances Richard Smith and use an interactive tool to navigate around the council’s website to focus on services that are of interest to you before you complete the survey.

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Mr Smith said: “As we begin our annual budget consultation I encourage you all to take part by visiting our website to complete our short survey.

“Your help will support the council’s budget-making process and alongside the views you give, we will listen to councillor colleagues and council officers as well as partner organisations across the public sector with whom we work closely to deliver services to Suffolk’s residents.”

Opposition Labour group leader Sarah Adams said: “The council is obviously preparing itself for the wholesale destruction of public services in Suffolk and the years of financial illiteracy of the Conservative administration is coming home to roost.

“We have warned the Tories that salami slicing public services will only lead to disaster, but they have refused to listen. This call for the general public to tell them what services to cut puts paid to Theresa May’s lie that austerity is over.”

The consultation is open now and closes at 5pm on November 16.

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