Stoke-on-Trent City Council have announced that the Cabinet will be taking to various venues across the city over the next two weeks to answer questions from the public on its ‘Mandate for Change’ budget proposals for 2012 to 2013.
The public consultation will be launched on Thursday 1 December during late night shopping outside the Potteries Shopping Centre between 6pm and 8pm. Members of the Cabinet will also be attending events across the city to answer questions on their budget proposals. The events will take place in the North, South and central parts of the city and will include daytime as well as evening events.
Public consultation on the proposed budget closes on 23 December.
Councillor Mohammed Pervez, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said
Over the next few weeks, we will be seeking feedback on the budget proposals from the public, elected members, staff, partners, MP’s and businesses in the city. We will be listening to their concerns and answering questions. We will also welcome any further suggestions on how the council can save money.
We are committed to our Mandate for Change to make our city a great place to live and bring business. Last year we were faced with making £36m worth of cuts, and now we are faced with another huge task. However, this year our budget is not all about cuts; we are also saving to invest in our city to create the right conditions to stimulate the local economy.
It is absolutely vital that the private sector kick starts the economic regeneration of our city. Businesses, small and large, need to stimulate growth through expansion and job creation. The recent government cuts to local authorities mean that public sector will not have the means to do this. We therefore need to give business confidence to invest in Stoke-on-Trent through our ability to manage large projects such as the £250m Building Schools for the Future scheme. The additional £5m savings will give us the resource we need to further build confidence and attract businesses willing to invest in our city.
I have no doubt that year two of cuts is going to be very painful and tough with some extremely difficult decisions to be made on some equally worthy competing priorities.
A full list of the consultation events can be found using the links below.
Pits n Pots reader & regular commentor, Ian Norris E-mailed the council leader to ask some questions about total spending on, PFI schemes, landfill tax, waste disposal, energy, vehicles & capital investment for this year & last year as well as the council prediction for next year in the budget so he could respond to the consultation.
Mr Norris from Tunstall did not recieve a response from the Council Leader or Officer, he was sent a standard E-mail from the Freedom of Information office explaining that he had sent in a Freedom of Information request and he should expect a response by 22 December, just one day before the consultation closes.
Mr Norris said
I am greatly concerned that the Council Leader was unable to answer a simple question about his budget. This information should be readily available as part of the budget consultation. I am appalled that he has submitted the question as a Freedom of Information request in my name.
I have since recived a phone call from the council who want to speak to me about the request, I have responded to say I want a written reply to my question and not just a phone call.
So although the Council Leader welcomes and further suggestions on how the couuncil can save money, it seems that you can only do this if you don’t ask too many questions about the budget.