Article Source: Stirling Council
Last Updated: 31 October 2023 14:25
Through the ‘Big Conversation’, the views and priorities of residents are shaping how the Council addresses a budget shortfall of around £13 million next year (2024-25).
The Council must bridge this gap to balance the budget despite making significant savings of approximately £6 million in the current financial year.
The main reason why the Council is facing this unprecedented financial challenge is due to the annual Scottish Government grant, which provides the vast majority of local government funding, not keeping pace with the Council’s continuing high costs and increasing pressures.
The events will be an opportunity to find out more about this stark situation and to speak to staff from various services about the wide-ranging work they do in your community, such as educating children and young people, collecting and recycling household waste, maintaining and improving the road network, running libraries and addressing housing needs.
They will also provide a chance to discuss budget saving proposals being developed with each service and to give your views on matters such as Council Tax rates. Despite the Scottish Government’s proposed council tax freeze, it’s still important we still engage with residents on one of few areas where the Council can raise local funds, including what an affordable and fair rate of council tax would be for the area if it isn’t frozen.
The events follow community engagement sessions held in August and September where residents learned more about the Council’s financial challenges and shared their views and ideas on service delivery and income generation.
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who came along to our first Big Conversation drop-in sessions – your feedback has been valuable and shared with services across the Council.
“This next round of drop-in events are a really important stepping stone in the budget-setting setting process.
“Like all Scottish Councils, we are under severe financial pressure despite making year-on-year savings, and the Scottish Government’s recent proposed freeze on Council Tax has really put the funding issues facing local government in the national spotlight once again.
“We must continue this difficult conversation with our communities about how we plug this budget gap and continue delivering the services that people value the most.
“The events are an opportunity for you to have face-to-face conversations with our staff about your services, how any potential savings would impact you and to ask any questions about your Council’s funding arrangements, including on Council Tax.
“If you have any ideas or suggestions about bridging the gap, we still want to hear from you as well. Please come along to the events in your area to help inform the difficult decisions we will have make.”
See below for dates and times of all the drop-in events:
• McLaren High School - Monday 6 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Hillpark Community Centre - Wednesday 8 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Stirling High School - Monday 13 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Balfron High School - Wednesday 15 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Wallace High School - Monday 20 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Bannockburn High School - Wednesday 22 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
• Dunblane High School - Monday 27 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
To ensure everyone can have their say on saving proposals or potential increases to charges, an online survey will shortly be launched as well. For more information on this, as well on all the drop-in events, please visit stirling.gov.uk/bigconversation
We will also be sharing answers to some of the questions asked by residents at the first round of Big Conversation drop-in sessions.
Remember to use the hashtag #BigConversation2425 to provide feedback and ideas on our social media channels.
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