It’s no secret that we are living in testing times, times of significant and punishing cuts to the Council’s central government grant. Just to put it into perspective since 2010, the Government has reduced the money it provides us for services by £104 million.
By 2017 Tameside’s funding from the government will have been cut in half and we face a further reduction of £38 million over the next two years.
Taken with the cuts already imposed, the people of Tameside have had £142 million in total slashed from their services. That’s over £1,500 less per household to pay for local services.
We know that services are important to our residents, and we want to make sure that despite our budget cuts we continue to make the borough a place where people are proud to live.
With this in mind it would seem obvious; therefore, that spending taxpayers’ money is a responsibility we take very seriously. As a Council we think it’s important to help struggling residents without compromising protecting the most vulnerable and doing everything we can to reduce costs.
However, we can’t face this challenge alone. We need to come together as a community to focus on making Tameside a place where everyone does their bit and shares the benefits.
That’s why I launched our budget consultation simulator at last night’s Full Council meeting. We want to hear your views on how we can balance the budget following the imposed cuts. We want to know what you believe are the priority services, where we should spend the remaining money we have, and how we can work together to build a borough of which we can all be proud.
How would you deal with another two years of government budget reductions? As it prepares to face another round of cuts, Tameside Council wants to know how residents and businesses believe it should react.
This is not about tackling inefficient wasteful councils – the Audit Commission independently assessed us as being one of the best and most efficient in the county.
Council tax payments provide only one third of the money the Council has to spend. The other two-thirds comes directly from the Government. This is the money we need to fund care homes, children in care, highways and refuse collection amongst all the services we deliver.
This means we have hard choices to make. We want to hear from the people and businesses of Tameside about how they think these cuts should be tacked and how the budget can be balanced. We can’t spend more than we have – that’s the law. We have limited choices in how we cut spending or raise money. All involve difficult choices.
Would you agree to increase recycling, so that we spend less on expensive landfill tax? Maybe you think we should spend less on street cleaning? Whatever it is, we want to hear from you. Contact us through the Big Conversation at www.tameside.gov.uk/tbc/current