Crime and anti-social behaviour emerge as key themes as 1,500 respond to council's budget survey

More than 1,500 people have already contributed to a consultation about how Wakefield Council should prioritise its cash next year.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 10:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 10:14 am

Members of the public have until January 6 to tell the authority their thoughts about what areas and departments should be ringfenced, ahead of the budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

That will then be pieced together and finalised in the spring, with crime and anti-social behaviour having emerged as key themes from the consultation so far.

Speaking at a scrutiny committee on Monday, the council's chief finance officer, Neil Warren, said all of the views offered would be taken into consideration.

Residents have until January 6 to respond to the survey.

He said: "We've had about 1,500 responses so far, which is about five times more than we usually get. It's been a good, positive response.

"We'll take that engagement and feed that back into the process.

"We're asking people what matters to them and how we should spend the money we've got."

The council is hopeful that a severely delayed government bill on the funding of social care may soon go through Parliament.

Tacking crime and anti-social behaviour are "very important" to people, Mr Warren said.

The local authority currently spends around two-thirds of its cash on social care and looking after the elderly.

In previous years, councils have had to raise money for this themselves by raising a designated part of council tax, rather than investment coming from the central pot.

The government has yet to confirm how much money councils will get for the forthcoming financial year, but there is cautious optimism that they will get more than in previous years. There is little prospect, however, of funding being returned to pre-2010 levels.

Mr Warren added: "I think we need to see the budget next year as a positive one.

"Hopefully the government will honour the commitments it made to spending in October."

The survey can be accessed here.

Local Democracy Reporting Service