Residents encouraged to share their priorities for COVID-19 recovery

Politics / Sun 4th Oct 2020 at 11:03am

Residents encouraged to share their priorities for COVID-19 recovery 

WITH the world facing challenges on an unprecedented scale due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Essex County Council (ECC) is continuing to put plans in place to support local communities, public services and the Essex economy to recover from its impact.

It is anticipated that ECC will spend over £2bn on essential services next year. However, like many other public sector organisations, COVID-19 has placed significant pressure on ECC’s resources.

It is therefore vital that future plans are informed by the experiences of Essex residents so that ECC can respond appropriately to meet local need within the resources available.

A consultation has been launched today (Tuesday 29 September), so that residents can share their aspirations, anxieties and priorities for recovery. 

This will inform ECC’s plans for the next 18 months, its 2021/22 budget, as well as longer-term strategies.  

Cllr David Finch, Leader of ECC, said: “I am proud to say that ECC has a strong track record of financial management, with over £370m saved over the past five years. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic this year have truly reinforced that we must never be complacent and that it is vital to continue to carefully manage our resources now and in the longer-term.

“We are facing some big decisions over the coming months, with additional costs of over £90m* expected this year alone due to the pandemic. As we plan for next year and beyond, we can expect further pressures from COVID-19 itself, the longer-term impacts of lockdown and school closures.

“We know that lots of residents have and are still facing challenges they could never have planned for because of the pandemic and some of the impacts are still yet to be felt in full. 

“This is why it is so important that we hear from you, the people of Essex, to understand exactly how the crisis has changed your priorities – for yourself, your family and your community – so that we can ensure we are responding in the most appropriate way.”

The consultation is divided into two parts: part one focuses on priorities for recovery across Essex and the challenges faced by the county.  

Part two focuses on the financial pressures facing the county council itself – it invites views on how ECC should allocate resources to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and sustain public services.   

The consultation will remain open until Friday 6 November and can be accessed here: https://consultations.essex.gov.uk/rci/budget-consultation-2021-22

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