Winchester City Council seeks views on its future budget

Winchester City Council is inviting residents, businesses and other local organisations to take part in its budget consultation.

The consultation published this week sets out a range of options that will save money, or generate income, to address the projected shortfall in the council’s budget as a result of cuts in national grants to local authorities. Winchester City Council has a projected cumulative shortfall of nearly £16 million over the next four years, mainly due to cuts in central government funding. The council has already identified significant operational savings which will total £9 million over this period, but further action is required to close the remaining gap of almost £7m.

The consultation sets out a range of options being considered by the council to balance its budget over the next three years. Views are being sought from residents, organisations and businesses, and visitors.

In September the council ran a budget simulator which gave local people the opportunity to make spending choices to balance the council’s budget online. This showed general support for increases in charges to support the delivery of essential services.

Outline budget proposals were considered by the council’s Cabinet in October and responses from the current consultation will be debated early next year, before the budget is set in February 2020. Not all of the proposals included in the consultation will be adopted.

Councillor Neil Cutler, Cabinet Lead for Finance and Risk, said:

“Winchester City Council faces a significant shortfall in its budget over the next three years due to cuts in national grants. We have already made savings through efficiency measures, but the council must now find more money to balance our budget in a responsible manner. This means making difficult choices in order to rise to this financial challenge, whilst continuing to deliver services to our communities and our commitments on reducing carbon emissions.  

“Our administration is committed to engage local people about decisions that affect our district. Our budget simulator gave us an initial feedback and we are now asking for views on a list of potential financial choices, before the budget is set at full council in February 2020.”

Key dates:

Consultation published – December 18

Consultation closes – January 13

Consultation findings reviewed by Cabinet – January 22

Budget goes to Full Council – 26 February 2020

Link Budget Consultation: https://winchester.citizenspace.com/policy/wcc-budget-consultation/

To ensure a wide distribution of the Budget Consultation, copies will be sent to Parish Councils. Paper copies will be available on request at the council’s reception in Winchester – or by emailing or phoning the council.