Better budget engagement needed

Portsmouth City Council’s recent public consultation on the forthcoming budget has now closed.

The city is facing cuts to the money the city gets from the government. The administration is planning to make £24m of budget savings over the three years from April 2017.

At the same time, an ageing and growing population is increasing demand for social care services, which is pushing costs up.

The News has learned that the number of people who have responded to this consultation has more than halved compared to last year’s consultation.

Just 1,281 respondents contributed to the survey and other consultation activities down from 2,500 replies last year. A public meeting was also held last month in the Council Chamber which attracted just four local people.

In hearing the news about the consultation response this year, Portsmouth Labour Leader Cllr Stephen Morgan said:

“It is hugely important that local people, community groups and businesses have their say on the big issues affecting our great city. 

The shape of the city’s finances and how money is allocated to protect and provide essential public services is one of the biggest challenges this council faces. 

I am concerned by the response rate this year. There is a real need for better and wide-ranging engagement with the public to inform and improve future decisions.

Otherwise consultation runs the risk of becoming just a gimmick”.

Portsmouth Labour has called on the Leader of the Council to lobby central government to protect vital central funding to provide services in the city – in what is known as the ‘revenue support grant’.

 

 

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