Gwynedd facing the financial challenge – an opportunity to have your say
The government’s decision to spend far less on local services means that councils throughout the UK have no choice but to deliver significant cuts to local services.
So far, Gwynedd Council has avoided such cuts by focusing all of its energy on working cost-effectively and efficiently. This drive, coupled with planned Council Tax increases, has enabled the Council to halve its financial shortfall from £50 million to £25 million, with further efficiency savings of £18 million to be realised over the coming years.
Despite these attempts, the ever-increasing pressure of the government’s austerity agenda means that there may be no other alternative but to implement cuts worth £7 million in the period up to March 2018 if the Council is continue to afford paying for services that local people consider essential.
Early in 2016, Gwynedd Councillors will have to decide which local services to protect and which to cut. Before this, local people will have an opportunity to have their say on a range of possible options worth £12 million that they feel are most important to them and therefore they would wish to see removed from the final list of cuts.
Gwynedd Council Leader, Councillor Dyfed Edwards, said:
“As a Council, we have managed to safeguard essential services for the county’s residents to a great extent for a number of years, thanks to careful financial planning and positive collaboration with our various partners.
“However, it is no longer a case of looking for minor savings here and there, but rather a time where the Council has no option but to make significant cuts.
“But, rather than implementing knee-jerk cuts, we are determined to continue to base our response to the government’s austerity cuts on the priorities of the people of Gwynedd. This is why we are asking local people to share their views on the specific services that they want us to protect if at all possible, by taking part in the county-wide engagement exercise.
“Then, when this process has been completed and the results fed back, all of Gwynedd’s councillors can consider the opinions of the county’s residents before coming to a final decision on the final cuts that will have to implemented.”
It is important to remember that no decisions have been made, and the fact that a particular service has been included on the long-list of possible options, does not mean that it will necessarily be included in the finalised £7 million list of service cuts.
Before Gwynedd councillors decide which services to protect and which they will unfortunately have no option but to cut, local people have an opportunity to have their say on these crucial decisions by:
- visiting www.gwynedd.gov.uk/gwyneddchallenge to register in order to complete the questionnaire online. Everyone who registers interest will be informed when the questionnaire will be ready to be completed in the coming days; or
- attending one of the 19 drop-in sessions that will be held in towns and villages throughout the county from now until 12 November. Further details regarding these sessions, are available from: www.gwynedd.gov.uk/gwyneddchallenge
- registering to attend one of the 13 evening public forums where there will be an opportunity to complete the questionnaire with Council officers present. To register go to: www.gwynedd.gov.uk/gwyneddchallenge