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This is Our Moment - Meeting the Financial Challenge in Flintshire

Published: 28/10/2015

Public engagement events 16 November - 7 December 2015 Local services and community facilities are under threat because of big reductions in public spending. Flintshire County Council is calling on the public to stand up for their local services by working with the Council to meet the financial challenge. It will hold a series of public engagement events starting in November when people can hear how they can get involved in shaping services for the future and make their views count in the budget debate. The Council needs to significantly reduce its budget and make unprecedented changes to the way services are delivered in light of substantial government funding reductions year on year. This comes at a time when the Council is facing unavoidable increases in costs and demand for services. An efficient and innovative Council, Flintshire has a strong track record of managing within its available funding, saving over £22m in the past three years. In doing so, key services such as maintaining roads, keeping communities clean and tidy, leisure centres, local schools, welfare support and services for older people, vulnerable children and those with disabilities have been protected. But between now and 2018 the forecast is bleak with the Council facing a further budget gap of £53m. This year alone £18.3m has been saved towards this target, and a serious ‘tipping point’ has now been reached. The Council has published a detailed Medium Term Financial Strategy setting out how it proposes to meet the challenges ahead. It needs the support of Welsh Government and the public to achieve it. Council Leader Aaron Shotton said: We are one of the lowest funded Councils in Wales and charge around the Welsh average for Council Tax, but this low funding level combined with the effects of the continuing UK austerity agenda does expose us to particularly high levels of budget reductions. Flintshire has been creative in absorbing budget cuts in recent years through careful planning, being efficient, finding innovative solutions, and reducing back office costs to protect front-line services. The Council has now reached a ‘tipping point’ where services will be exposed to major cuts without some relief from Welsh Government. We are working hard to find solutions, and believe we can save around £14m of the £21m needed next year. If we can work with Welsh Government to find further solutions for example limiting the amount of grant we will lose, and receiving a share of the new funding for health to directly fund preventative social care services, then we believe we can make a big step forward in bridging this funding gap. Without these solutions, services we have so far been able to protect will be at risk. Chief Executive Colin Everett added: This is the moment for the public to get involved. We are already supporting and working with local people to find local solutions to provide services and are encouraged by the response so far. But much more needs to be done and local communities have a big opportunity to play their part and take on local facilities and services the County Council may no longer be able to provide. We want to work with people to explore these opportunities as partners together. People can register to attend one of seven public engagement events being held at venues across the County starting on 16 November. People need to register to attend now as numbers will be limited to 200 at each venue. They can do this by going on line at www.flintshire.gov.uk/OurMoment or by telephoning a special registration line on 01352 701701 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. The events will be from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the following locations: Monday, November 16: Elfed High School, Buckley Tuesday, November 17: Ysgol Gwynedd, Flint Wednesday, November 18: Holywell High School Monday, November 23: Ysgol Bryn Coch,Mold Tuesday, November 24: Broughton CP School Thursday,December 3: Civic Hall, Connahs Quay Monday, December 7 : Sandycroft CP School


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