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Residents asked to have their say on the council's proposed spending plans

04 December 2023

Residents are being asked to have their say on the council’s proposed spending plans for 2024/25 which aim to deliver a balanced budget and meet the priorities set out in its Corporate Strategy.

Cabinet members met today (Monday 4 December) and agreed to launch a consultation which sets out the range of services provided by the council and how it might look to do things differently in 2024/25.

The consultation runs from today until 7 January and the feedback received may inform decisions that councillors make in February on the overall Council budget.

In the coming year the council will continue to spend more than £220m providing public services for residents. These services range from ensuring the best start in life for children and young people, supporting older or more vulnerable residents, ensuring a safe and clean environment, maintaining parks and public spaces, collecting waste and supporting and improving public health.

The council is also at the forefront of investing in the future of Peterborough, growing the economy and creating homes and jobs for local people, protecting and enhancing the environment, supporting the transition to a carbon neutral Peterborough and strengthening vibrant communities, our heritage and culture.

The predicted budget gap in 2024/25 is £6.2m and the council now needs to set out how it plans to meet that gap and deliver a balanced budget which councillors will be asked to approve at the Full Council meeting taking place on 21 February.

Councillor Mohammed Farooq, Leader of the Council, said: “Earlier in the year we were predicting much smaller budget gaps in future years but demand for our services has continued to rise and we’ve seen particular spikes in the need for temporary accommodation and in the number and complexity of cases open to Children and Adult Services.

“Peterborough is not alone in these challenges. Many other councils are experiencing similar pressures, with some issuing warnings that they will have to pause all but essential spending.

“In Peterborough the situation is different – we will meet the challenge and will continue to invest in the services that you need to create a city of opportunity for all. However, in doing so there will be some difficult decisions that we need to make along the way.

“Please have a read of our budget consultation document and give us your views so that councillors can take these into account when making the final decisions.”

The budget document sets out a number of areas the council will focus on in the coming financial year, including:

  • A continued focus on growth and regeneration, bringing forward development plans for a number of sites across the city, including the station quarter, the former TK Maxx building on Bridge Street, the Wellington Street and Dickens Street car parks, and the area known as Middleholme adjacent to the river close to the city centre.
  • Increased efforts to attract new employers into Peterborough, including those who can offer better paid and permanent employment opportunities.
  • Supporting people who are struggling the most, including through expanding our network of community hubs.
  • Increasing our efforts to work with residents who are in housing difficulty at the earliest possible opportunity, to prevent them becoming homeless in the first place.
  • A continued focus on the city centre, making sure it is a place which is vibrant and where people feel and are safe. We will increase our workforce in the city centre to make sure that the issues that matter to people, such as anti-social behaviour, street drinking, littering, and graffiti are tackled.
  • Refocussing our adult skills service, delivered by City College Peterborough, so that it helps people with few or no formal qualifications or work experience to gain employment.
  • Continuing to develop our new Local Plan, which will set out our strategy and policies to deliver growth, alongside our new Housing Strategy.
  • Supporting the city to become net zero, which will help to reduce fuel poverty, improve physical and mental health, improve air quality, stimulate our economy, and provide jobs for the local area.
  • Supporting even more people to remain independent for as long as possible, through technology enabled care and reablement services.
  • Developing a Shared Lives scheme to support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other needs which make it harder for them to live on their own.
  • Investing even more money into Children’s Services to be able to meet the rising demand and improve the services that we offer children and families.
  • Developing a social work academy to support the recruitment and retention of social workers.
  • Supporting families through the Family Hubs model which has attracted significant Government funding.
  • Developing three new hubs to meet the needs of children with Autism and Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
  • Improving and protecting the health of everyone who lives in Peterborough.

In September the council launched a budget simulator to give residents the opportunity to learn more about the breadth of services the council provides and to have a say on where they think it should be focussing its spending and making savings.

The simulator closed on 31 October and a summary of the 342 responses is included as part of the Budget Consultation document.

Councillor John Howard, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Governance and Finance said: “The budget simulator was a great chance for us to understand the services that residents value the most and it is helpful for members to have this in mind when considering where to invest and cut back in future years.

“This latest consultation now goes into more detail about what we will be focussing on next year to both meet the aims set out in our corporate strategy and to balance our budget. It is not all about making savings, we will be investing heavily in services for children and families and older people and vulnerable adults. There will be a focus on our city centre, education including support for children and young people with special educational needs, and our plans to achieve net zero.

“However, with the budget gap that remains there will be difficult decisions and that is why it is important that you tell us what you think and take part in our budget consultation. So please, take the time to get involved.”

People can have their say on the Budget Consultation by:

Completing an online form at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget

Requesting a paper copy of the form by emailing communications@peterborough.gov.uk or calling 01733 747474.