Residents are being urged to have their say on a range of budget proposals put forward by Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet.

A short survey to gather feedback on the Cabinet’s key proposals is now live on the council’s website and available at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/Budget2021

It is estimated that the authority will have a funding gap of £2.7 million by 2022-23, which has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At its meeting last night, the Cabinet agreed ambitious proposals which it is considering for its Medium Term Financial strategy. They are aimed at helping close the funding gap and centre on making the council a smaller organisation, while protecting essential front-line services.

The Cabinet’s plans include changing the way services are delivered, which may include working with other councils and the private sector.  Among its other proposals are: commissioning a business case on disposing of all or some of the council’s Wyre Forest House headquarters, and moving local assets and services to town councils. Proposals also include ending the community leadership fund as the recently launched community lottery will replace this as a way to support good causes, increasing its part of the Council Tax bill by the maximum amount it can without triggering a referendum, and asking the Boundary Commission to review the number of councillors with a view to reducing the amount from 2027.

The Cabinet now wants the public’s view on its plans before more detailed budget proposals are drawn up.

Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said:

“The council had been making progress on reducing the funding gap. In April this year its general fund balances were up just over £1 million from the previous year and earmarked reserves were increased substantially to cover known liabilities. But the council’s financial position has become worse with Government grant funding reducing over many years and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic putting more pressure on our finances, with extra costs and lost income not being covered in full by additional Government funding. We know we are going to have to make some big changes.

We cannot continue to provide the same number or quality of services we have in the past. We are looking to reduce the number of priorities we have in our corporate plan and would like to hear which of our priorities the public feel is most important to them. They have an opportunity to do this and give feedback on other proposals in the survey.”

The survey closes at midday on Thursday 10 December 2020.

Full details of the proposals can be found in the Cabinet agenda by visiting http://www.wyreforest.gov.uk/council/meetings/com60.htm#mt8350

Feedback from the survey will feed into a report on the Medium Term Financial Strategy at the Cabinet’s meeting in December.