Balancing the budget - have your say

 15 January 2018  |  


The Council is looking for your views

The Council is looking for your views

South Ayrshire residents now have the chance to have their say on the Council's budget saving proposals for 2018-2020.

The Council is facing an estimated funding gap of more than £20 million for 2018-2020 and is looking for feedback on a number of savings which could help tackle the shortfall.

The funding gap is the difference between how much money the Council needs to deliver services and how much money is actually available.

The gap has grown as the amount of core grant funding we receive has gone down every year. Meanwhile, the costs we've had to pay to deliver services have increased and the demand for many services has gone up, which also costs more money.

Around 75% of South Ayrshire Council's money comes from Government grants and non-domestic rates, so this is a big issue.

Since 2010, the Council has saved around £53 million, but this latest funding gap is the biggest yet. This means more savings need to be made and it looks like the funding crisis is set to continue over the next few years.

The result is that the public are being asked for their opinion on savings proposals which include new ways of working, increasing or introducing charges for some services, staffing restructures and service closures/reductions.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "To help bridge this significant gap and balance the books, the Council's Management Team has come up with a number of possible savings.

"I'm sure when the public see the proposals they will realise just how serious the situation has become. We need to focus on the services that make the biggest difference in our communities and we will no longer be able to do all the things people have taken for granted over the years.

"No decisions have been made and not all of these proposals will be taken forward. At the same time, we're working hardtop find other ways to help balance the budget such as using reserves and looking at our debt charges, which could mean extending the time taken to pay back loans; therefore reducing our outgoings.

"That said, there will still be a significant impact and we need to know what the public feel about these proposals. For example, are people willing to pay a bit more for some services to protect others?

"I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say so that Councillors can make informed decisions when the budget is set on Thursday 1 March 2018."

To find out more about the specific savings proposals and have your say, go to www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/balancing-the-budget.

Budget drop-in sessions are also taking place where people can ask questions and highlight the services most important to them. You can find out more details on the drop-in sessions here.

The closing date for the Balancing the Budget consultation is Sunday 11 February 2018.