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Harlow Council asks residents on funding and services

Politics / Mon 30th Jun 2014 at 12:41pm

HARLOW Council is asking residents for their views on what services they think the Council should fund and provide in the future.

Harlow Council continues to face difficult financial challenges due to continued reduced grants from the Government. Since 2011, the Council’s Government grant which funds nearly half (46%) of the Council’s services has reduced by nearly 50% and this will continue with an expected further reduction of 16% in 2015/16 and 10% in 2016/17.

This means the Council is planning for a future with a lot less money to spend on services in Harlow.

The Council has to save £5.3m over the next four years. In 2015/16 the Council will need to save £1.3m. Both of these figures are based on Harlow Council’s share of Council Tax increasing by 1.5% a year.

Surveys have been sent out directly to a random sample of 2,000 households. However the consultation, which runs until 29 August 2014, is open to everyone and residents can take part online at www.harlow.gov.uk/consultation

Paper copies of the survey are also available from the Civic Centre or by phoning Contact Harlow on 01279 446655.

The survey includes funding choices for over 20 different services Harlow Council provides or pays for directly. The Council provides both discretionary services (services the Council is not legally obliged to provide) and statutory services (services the Council has to provide by law). There are also questions on Council Tax levels and what residents’ priorities are for making Harlow a better place to live.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “In the last two years the Council has done well to minimise the impact on services but we want to be clear and open with residents about the financial challenges we face in balancing budgets now and in the future. As a Council you can’t continue to have your grants reduced without any impact on services and we want to know what is important for our residents. This is the start of an ongoing conversation with residents about the decisions we will need to take.

“When looking at our budget choices I believe the fairest thing to do is to give everyone the opportunity to have their say and take part. No decisions are ever taken lightly and the results of this consultation will help inform our budget proposals for 2015/16 and beyond.”

Councillor Clempner, added: “We know there may be some services where people want us to spend more but doing that means we will have to save money by reducing or stopping services elsewhere.”

The results of the consultation will be published with the Council’s budget proposals for 2015/16 announced in early 2015.

Residents can also join in the conversation on Twitter from now until the end of August 2014 by suggesting savings and priorities for the Council using the hastag #Harlowbudgetchoices

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1 Comment for Harlow Council asks residents on funding and services:

UKMaverick785
2014-07-01 15:59:47

Excuse me? How much money is being spent on this survey? Surely the thing to do is to look for pots of money to bid for and external funding to meet the shortfalls?! We know the Council, along with every other in the Country, has to find money for it's services, but how many external bids have been made? The answer is hardly any because Labour expect everything to come from taxation! Time for them to come into the 21st Century!

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