Thousands respond to council survey about budget savings

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ABOUT 2,500 people responded to a consultation about where budget savings should be made in Portsmouth next year.

The city council carried out a survey in September and October asking residents which of its services could be cut back and which should be protected.

It comes after the authority revealed it needs to save £37m in the next three years because government funding is being reduced.

The council said that only around 500 people responded to the budget consultation in previous years.

It admits ‘difficult decisions’ have to be made in the way money is spent, which will ultimately mean some public services are at risk.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of the council, said: ‘The response rate has gone through the roof, with five times as many people responding this year as last.

‘This jump has come about because the new administration decided to approach consultation in a different way.

‘We put our cards on the table and then gave local residents an honest choice of the options the council has available. People took up the challenge in record numbers. The responses showed a recognition of the stark choices the council faces and a sense of realism in dealing with managing the budget.

‘Frankly the people of the city have put their politicians to shame, many of whom are still demanding more spending.’

The budget will be considered by the full council on December 9.