Have your say on council’s budget plans

NORTH Tynesiders are being asked what they think the future should hold for the borough and how best council chiefs can make ends meet while cutting costs.

North Tyneside Council is holding a range of engagement events to canvass opinions on its strategic plan and budget proposals.

Area forums are being held, and residents can also have their say online at www.northtyneside.gov.uk

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “As a council, we have a commitment to be transparent in our decision-making and sharing information with our residents.

“Like every council in the country, we have to make some difficult choices, to achieve £47.5m of efficiencies over four years.”

The council will start to shape its annual budget and three-year strategic plan next month, ready for it to be formally approved by March.

Mrs Arkley said: “As a result of the changes to local authority funding, our financial environment is undergoing a radical change over the next three years, with the emphasis for financial planning now shifting more towards savings and efficiencies, the close control of costs, a focus on our priorities and new ways of working.

“To address these challenges, the council most drive forward in a new direction with a clear vision and priorities.

“We cannot achieve the level of savings needed without fundamentally changing what we do and how we do it.”

“The approach is an ambitious one, but it is one that will set a new direction for the council, empower local people, widen horizons and create opportunities.”

On the website, residents will be able to see the specific savings against the council’s seven priorities:-

• delivering sustainable growth;

• excellent education, skills and employment;

• supporting people to be health and independent and protecting the vulnerable;

• creating safe and secure communities;

• protecting and enhancing the environment;

• helping people make a positive contribution;

• making change happen, improving customer service and facing up to financial challenges.