The Isle of Wight Council has launched its budget consultation for 2017/18. The consultation seeks views from Island residents, partners, businesses, town and parish councils and the voluntary sector about what their priorities for council spending in the future are.
In 2016 the council responded to the government’s Fairer Funding Review of local authority services; making the case for the Isle of Wight’s unique factors that have a significant financial impact on the delivery of public services. Alongside this approach, the council has also agreed a new robust, medium term financial strategy model, to help manage its finances; to create a sustainable financial environment for the future, based around the themes of regeneration, growth and productivity.
A public meeting is scheduled to take place on 16th January 2017 at Medina Theatre, Newport which will discuss the council’s financial position, look at each area of its spending and provide an opportunity for an interactive question and answer/engagement session with leading members of the council.
A series of engagement sessions with key stakeholders have also been arranged and will also take place throughout January.
An online budget survey has been launched today (Thursday 22nd December), which can be accessed at https://www.iwight.com/council/OtherServices/Financial-Management/Budget-Consultation.
Councillor Jonathan Bacon, leader of the council, said:
“In order to achieve these savings, on top of those already made, will be a challenge. While we aim to secure public services for the Island, we also recognise that to do so we must change the way we approach the council’s funding and financial management. We need to take control of our own destiny, to secure greater financial stability for the Island and the services that we provide. Our recently approved Regeneration Strategy identified the opportunities for us to do that but also shows the scale of the challenge ahead.
“But, what we need to know, from all those involved in or who receive council services, is what our priorities should be for spending over the coming year. As positive as we want to be about the opportunities to come, there are many services which we must provide by law and which will always be the first call on our resources. We must also recognise that while we have significantly reduced the savings required for next year, from around £12.5 million to around £7.5 million – that’s still £7.5 million of savings that will have to be made. In order to manage expectations and plan for service delivery, now and into the future, we must understand the priorities of those that use our services in order to consider this as part of the budget setting process.
“We aim to be bold in our approach to finding solutions to our financial challenges, and as these decisions could affect you, we are asking you to take the time to give us your views on what you think are priorities for the Island and what services you feel should continue to receive funding. Therefore, I’d urge everyone to let us know their thoughts via the short online survey.”
The Full Council will set the council’s budget and council tax for 2017/18 at its meeting on 22nd February 2017.