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Finance and money

Have your say on borough’s spending challenges

Lambeth Council is asking residents to come forward to play a vital role in helping shape the future of local services, as the council faces the challenge of making savings of more than £79 million over the next four years.

With councils up and down the country facing unprecedented government cuts, Lambeth will be working with local people to help identify the services that really matter to people through a major Budget Consultation exercise throughout December and January.

Lambeth has to save £79million over the next 4 years and £42 in 2011/12 due to cuts in funding. The borough has already been working hard to identify savings through a major program of cutting waste, but council leaders have warned of tough times ahead. Already the council has announced that more than 400 council jobs are to go, and some services will have to cease or change.

Lambeth wants to make sure any decisions are based on the priorities of local people. The council will therefore soon be launching the ‘You Choose’ online budget simulator which will allow residents to set their own budget for Lambeth. Residents will be able to choose for example where spending should maintained or savings prioritised, whether it be towards libraries, parks, recycling and street cleaning, services for older people, schools, youth activities, help for the unemployed or carers.

Log on to http://youchoose.yougov.com/Lambeth to take part. Every response will be read
and considered.

750 people have already taken part in a special residents’ survey, and a number of special focus group meetings will be taking place in December to gather detailed research to get a deeper understanding of residents’ priorities and views on where the council can make savings.

Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, said: “The government’s cuts to public services present Lambeth with our greatest financial challenge in decades and there are some extremely difficult decisions and tough choices ahead of us. However, I want residents in Lambeth to know that your council is on your side and will work with you to protect our community and, as far as we can, the services you depend on, and
we will also be fighting hard to get the best possible deal for our borough.

“We will keep focused on our vision of a Lambeth where everyone is valued, where there are real opportunities and we work with our communities.

“We will also not be knocked off course in developing Lambeth as a ‘Cooperative Council’, which aims to transform services as an alternative to simply cutting them by harnessing the ideas and energy of our community. Although this cannot make up for all the cuts we will be forced to make, by working together I firmly believe Lambeth has the skills and creativity to overcome the challenges we are facing over the next
few years.”

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